School district eyes keeping land near Lake Boren

September 3, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Hazen High School upgrades one of first projects from passage of construction bond measure

The Renton School District has decided to keep, for now, this 10-acre tract of undeveloped land it owns west of Lake Boren. Photo by Jim Feehan

The Renton School District has decided to keep, for now, this 10-acre tract of undeveloped land it owns west of Lake Boren. Photo by Jim Feehan

A Renton School District representative has suggested that officials hold onto a 10-acre wooded tract the district owns near Lake Boren, at least for now, and reassess the market in a few years.

Rich Moore, assistant superintendent of Business and Operations, and Rick Stracke, executive director of Facilities, reviewed the proposed timeline for the 2008 bond construction projects. Voters approved a $150 million bond measure in a special election in May.

One of the first projects to be bid upon will be an addition of 18,000 square feet at Hazen High School for parking and a new classroom wing, as well as gymnasium upgrades. In addition, there will be track and field upgrades at Hazen and at the municipal Renton Stadium.

Moore said the district anticipates two offerings on the sale of the bonds, splitting the $150 million in half. The first offering is tentatively scheduled for mid-September to mid-October. The district will monitor market trends to determine the best scenario for the sale.

Other possible sources of revenue include the sale of the 10-acre parcel in Newcastle, deemed too small for the district to build a school. Sale of the land would generate about 30 sites at about $80,000 to $100,000 per site or about $2.4 million for the 10-acre parcel.

“If inflation exceeds 30 percent, that could be a source of revenue,” Moore said. “I suggest we wait maybe a year or two and see what the market will bear.”

Board Member Marcie Maxwell, a Realtor, agreed with Moore saying that the market is cyclical.

“We certainly have a good investment there,” she said.

The district also owns 20 acres in Tiffany Park in Renton.

“We are very concerned about rising construction costs,” Moore said.

Board President Al Talley said a small group of individuals in Newcastle don’t want the area developed.

“Anytime we talk about development, we’ll get that same group who will chime in,” he said.

Board Member David Merrill said the city of Newcastle should buy the parcel for a park.

At the Hazelwood Community Association annual meeting in February, Stracke said district officials planned to sell the 10-acre wooded tract. Sale of the land would go toward raising money for future property.

“We’d like to see single-family homes go in there,” he said then.

The parcel, about a quarter-mile west of Lake Boren, is zoned for six dwellings per acre. Known as School Woods among hikers on the Newcastle Trails, it’s nestled between the Olympus and Hazelwood neighborhoods. The Newcastle Trails’ West Cross Town Trail runs through the site.

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