South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District ponders move

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District is looking at moving its headquarters to the soon-to-be-vacated Langley Middle School.

The possibility was discussed at the district’s regularly scheduled commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday. Parks Director Doug Coutts said the district’s current administrative office is owned by Island County, and the county is considering expanding services on South Whidbey. If its current space is lost, the school could be an alternative, he said.

“This is all preliminary, but there’s a possibility of moving into one of the Langley Middle School facilities once they’re vacated,” Parks Director Doug Coutts said at the meeting. “I’m of the opinion we need to investigate the cost of moving so we have options available to us.”

No decisions were made at the meeting.

The parks district’s administrative office is currently located on Maxwelton Road. It shares the building with Island County Public Health, which has a satellite office there. County officials reached out to Coutts this week, saying the county is considering establishing branches such as an opioid outreach program, a housing program and mental health program in the building.

“We utilized that building before the recession, but we greatly reduced the programs offered on South Whidbey once the recession hit,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said. “When I heard the parks district was exploring the school district building, I wanted to start a dialogue since the county plans to expand its services.”

If that occurred, Coutts said the southern-most building on the Langley Middle School campus might be a good fit for the parks district. It’s currently occupied by the South Whidbey Historical Society, but the organization will likely move to another part of the campus later this year.

Langley Middle School will close its doors this June. The school district is exploring how to rent the space, either as a whole or as separate units, according to Superintendent Jo Moccia.

Coutts said utility costs, such as those for water and electricity, are “significant,” but aren’t certain. More investigation is needed, he said.

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