After more than a decade of standing empty, the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse will have to wait another three months before its future is decided.
The Woodinville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 8, to hold off on making any decision about the future of the landmark building for three months in favor of allowing the Woodinville Heritage Society and the and opportunity to come up with an alternate plan to the three presented to council at its April 10 meeting.
The council had asked for a study on how the renovation of the schoolhouse, one of Woodinville’s few remaining historic buildings, should be presented to the marketplace in a request for proposals. Heartland LLC, a Seattle-based firm that creates strategic real estate development projects, was contracted to create the study. When it was presented to council in April, the three options focused more on redeveloping the entire civic campus than on the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse.
Two of the Heartland proposals call for a complete renovation of the civic campus by the private sector, including the demolition of the Carol Edwards Center. The other plan keeps in the land in the ciyt’s hands, but calls for the demolition of the CEC in favor of underground parking and parkland at ground level (see PDF).
The council was surprised to see the options suggesting that the city sell the land to developers, a plan Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said she rejects outright. Mayor Bernie Talmas also rejected the Heartland proposal, saying that it focused too little on the Schoolhouse.
The future of the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse has been in debate since the city relocated city hall from the historic building in 2001. A presented to the city council in early February 2011, revealed renovations to the vacant brick building could run as high as if 110 parking spaces are added. The city does not have the money to make the needed repairs and is hoping for a public/private partnership with a developer willing to shoulder the renovations costs.
A brick school was first built on the site in 1909. It has been through many expansions, including a 1936 renovation by the Works Progress Administration. Another wing was added in 1948, leaving the city with the building that stands today, which has a basement and two stories, totaling 18,435 square feet. All that remains from the 1909 building is a wall located on the western side of the building. Over time the building has served as a public school and was the first city hall from 1993 to 2001.