A survey released by the South Whidbey School District on Friday gives South End residents a say in the future of a closed campus.
The questionaire posted on SurveyMonkey.com asks parents, students, community members and others with a vested interested in Langley Middle School to provide ideas and input on how to best use it. It revolves around a “community center concept” that is being considered by the district, Superintendent Jo Moccia said, with the intended purpose being to serve both the community and students under one roof.
Moccia said the South Whidbey School Board ultimately has the authority to decide what becomes of the campus, but the input process could help lead the conversation in a direction preferred by the public.
“Hopefully it will have an impact on what we do and how we move forward,” Moccia said.
Ideas floating around include everything from a fitness center and a children’s museum to artist-in-residence programs and a commercial kitchen. The survey also asks participants to rate the likelihood of participating in a range of activities, such as recreation, fitness, youth programs and activities. There are 16 questions included in the survey, which can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LangleyCommunityCenter.
The board voted to close Langley Middle School indefinitely in January as part of a district-wide effort to consolidate its facilities usage. The closure saves the district $321,996 in net operating costs for the 2017-18 school year and prevents the need to terminate the salaries of eight to 10 teachers.
“We want that building utilized, and we want the district to incur no expense from it,” Moccia said. “If anybody occupies it, they have to cover utility costs.”
In some cases, there will be rental costs that need to be both “competitive” and based on the law, Moccia said. The district can also receive “in kind” services in lieu of rent. For example, middle school’s main office is already home to the Langley Archive and Research Center, a one-stop shop for historical documents and records that will open its doors in the fall. It will be operated by the Island County Historical Society.
Because of the research center’s extensive work in archiving the district’s records and digilitzing class photos, the district waived a rental fee. The historical society, however, pays for its utility costs, as does another organization renting a portion of the campus, the Whidbey Children’s Theater.