The Woodinville Heritage Society presented its plan to rehabilitate as a public place and operate the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse Tuesday at the Woodinville City Council meeting.
"It's always played an important role as a community gathering space," said Heritage Society President Rick Chatterton. "We want to keep it that way."
Essentially, the Heritage Society advocates keeping as much of the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse's integrity as possible, and would like it renovated for tenants, with more parking added through the demolition of an adjacent city building.
They envision the building having multiple tenants from Chamber of Commerce and economic development offices to artist lofts and and perhaps retail, wine tasting rooms and/or a brewpub. But, the idea Chatterton and Heritage Society Vice President Kevin Stadler said they felt most strongly about is a community theater (with potentially 90-100 seats) on the second floor.
"We are really adamant about theater space as we develop final vision," Stadler told city councilors, adding that a theater would ensure the building would be a community gathering place.
The historic and now vacant brick bulding in downtown Woodinville was first built as a school in 1909, was renovated in 1936 by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and enlarged to its current size in 1948.
The society's plan for funding lies in voter approved bonds, which would mean using property tax dollars to cover the cost of the renovation and parking. Just how much in bonds is unknown at this point, but using numbers from a recent feasibility study by SHKS Artchitects, the Heritage Society estimated $5-6 million.
Also under this proposal, the city would retain ownership of the land and building, while tenants would pay rent, management and maintenance costs.
In May, the Heritage Society requested that the council delay a decision on what to do with the building until they could present a proposal. The plan presented Tuesday night also came with help from the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce.
As next steps, Chatterton and Stedler recommended the city council adopt a vision for schoolhouse with city staff then determining the cost to implement that vision. They also said they'd be willing to split the cost (estimated at $6,000) of a having a professional survey done to see if the public would be willing to bond for the project.
Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said she thought the plan was fantastic.
"I would love to support going to find out what public thinks about this," she said about the survey idea.
Check back for updates to this story later today.