Courtesy Doug Dougherty
Seaside Civic and Convention Center
Seaside Civic and Convention Center
For a city the size of Seaside, the community undertook major steps in building, development and rehabilitation in 2017. With the passage of the $99.7 million bond for a new school campus approved by voters in November 2016, the starting gun was fired and a process that will stretch at least until fall 2020 and the schools’ projected opening began.
At the same time, a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion was approved by the City Council, to be paid for by an increase in the city’s room tax, from 8 percent to 10 percent. Bonds for the project went out for sale in November.
The third major project in the city is the establishment of an urban renewal area in parts of southeast Seaside. The plan, which uses tax increment financing —not bonds or property tax hikes —could help the city improve bridges and schools.
And more building could be on the horizon. The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District is in the midst of the Bob Chisholm Community Refresh — delayed by high bids to improve acoustics and upgrade main areas. Discussions on a future renovation of the rec center by the district are ongoing, and with the phasing out of Seaside High School, Broadway Middle School and the South Franklin administrative building, out-of-the-box possibilities could be ahead.
Covering almost 560 acres of land along South Holladay, Avenue S from U.S. Highway 101 east and the southern section of Highway 101, the Southeast Seaside Urban Renewal District makes up about 21 percent of the city’s total acreage and 22 percent of Seaside’s assessed value.
Projected funds of up to $62.4 million — more if matched by state funds or grants — could help build bridges, add traffic enhancements and provide infrastructure needs for Seaside School District’s new campus in the city’s southeast hills.
Past urban renewal programs helped provide financing for The Turnaround and Prom, the city’s sewage plant, 12th Avenue improvements and construction of a new library.
Urban renewal is a financing program authorized under state law and implemented locally that allows for the use of property tax revenues to grow the economy in blighted areas. Property taxes on the growth in assessed value in the urban renewal area are frozen and increases are allocated to the city’s urban renewal agency and not city and county taxing districts. Subsequent improvements can lead to higher home values and in turn higher assessments, generating more funds for the urban renewal district. Funding comes through increases in assessed values of local properties.
Infrastructure goals include a pedestrian bike bridge, parks projects and upgrades to unincorporated properties in the area.
The urban renewal plan, adopted Aug. 29, sets a limit on the amount of money which can be used to fund projects, with a maximum indebtedness of $68.5 million. The plan has a duration of 25 years.
Sale of the bonds now heads to the markets, with sales anticipated in February, City Manager Mark Winstanley said at the council’s December meeting.
In November 2016, Seaside voters passed a $99.7 million bond to replace the district’s aging and unsafe schools at risk in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, at risk for earthquake and tsunami.
With that, the starting gun was fired and a team assembled to bring the campus dream into reality.
In 2017, the school district went before Seaside City Council and the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners to achieve a needed expansion of the urban growth boundary. The 89-acres expansion included 49 acres designated as county forest and 40 acres designated as low-density residential. After consideration by the Planning Commission, the commission recommended adoption of zoning and ordinance changes to rezone the property as industry-commercial.
After the August recommendation, amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and zoning map were subsequently adopted by the City Council which in October. In November, the county Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance amending the county’s comprehensive plan expanding Seaside’s urban growth boundary to accommodate the new campus.
DAY CPM, a Beaverton-based owner’s representative consulting firm, was contracted to administer construction management services on behalf of the district. In June, general contractor Hoffman Construction was named to the team.
In July, Weyerhaeuser Co. cleared trees on the hillside.
Land soil testing and surveys continued throughout the fall.
In December, the first schematics of the new project were delivered. The project’s first schematics and drawings include interior renderings of the elementary, middle and high school campuses and maps of playing fields and outdoor spaces.
Architects anticipate the design phase to reach next June, when construction could begin. The campus is slated for opening in the fall of 2020.
Spring of 2019. That’s when Convention Center General Manager Russ Vandenberg hopes to have the convention center’s $15 million construction project complete. The rationale for the expansion is to meet the growing need to accommodate larger groups, provide state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.
Vandenberg and team successfully won approval for the improvements, to be financed by an increase in the city’s lodging tax from 8 to 10 percent.
Changes include revamped entrances, new stairway locations and exterior improvements. The convention center, at nearly 46,000 square feet, will expand to more than 54,000 square feet, a net gain of about 19 percent. A complete exterior update will tie the additions together.
Lobby restrooms will be relocated to a portion of the current administrative area. A stairway will be moved and a reception or registration area added to the east side of the lobby. Administrative offices will be reconfigured, as will the concession area.
Portland-based Holst Architecture and Convergence Design of Kansas City, Missouri, will team with local architects O’Brien and Co. Construction to finalize design elements throughout the winter months.