‘For Rent’ signs coming soon at school properties

There are a few more buildings available for rent on South Whidbey. The South Whidbey School District is in the process of clearing and cleaning three facilities, which will be available for rent by August.

As a tax-funded educational entity, the district is supposed to lease the buildings for “educational purposes,” as deemed by the five-member school board.

“We do have some interest already,” said District Superintendent Jo Moccia. “Some people have called us and are looking at it.”

One group that has expressed interest for the past year is the continued-learning nonprofit Whidbey Island Community Education Center.

Enrollment in South End schools has steadily declined the past 10 years. That led the district to attempt reducing its “footprint” across South Whidbey and consolidate some of its buildings.

A pair of buildings on Camano Avenue can be leased. District staff, including the superintendent and assistant superintendent, are moving from the District Office to the Transportation and Maintenance Center on Maxwelton Road, leaving the office space vacant. The two-story building that was part of the Langley Middle School campus is also available.

Bayview School, South Whidbey’s alternative high school, moved from the program’s namesake building on Bayview Road to the South Whidbey Primary Campus and became a kindergarten through 12th grade alternative school: South Whidbey Academy.

The alternative program’s service-learning project with the Good Cheer Food Bank will likely continue. Despite losing $15,000 in federal funding, Moccia said Good Cheer will seek other grants to both maintain and expand its community garden with the students at South Whidbey Academy.

“It’s (Good Cheer’s) hope is that we actually can go farm-to-table,” Moccia said.

Community partnerships will be an integral part of the district’s future. Already, the board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Port of South Whidbey and City of Langley to have its former bus parking lot by Langley Middle School used for boat trailers. In return, the city and port will maintain the property and may improve the lot’s lighting and security.

Another opportunity was briefly discussed during the superintendent’s report. Moccia said organizers of the Island Shakespeare Festival proposed using the track field at Langley Middle School for its productions next year. This year’s festival is already set for weekends in August at the StoryHouse Theatre at Chinook in Clinton. The plan, which Moccia said will be further discussed during the Aug. 8 school board meeting, included the development of a stage, seating and repairs to the track that circles the field.

“At first glance, it looks very enticing,” Moccia said.

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