By Kiera Morgan
The Newport City Council Monday night held a public hearing on weather or not to sell the old pool building to the Lincoln County School District. Jon Zagel Newport High principle told the council the school district is up over 500 students. Mr. Zagel said the sale would be an economical way to add space for the school district. He also pointed out that right now the school district is offering a lot of services to students in need, than they ever have had in the past, but in order to do that they are using up classroom space.
“In my 30-years of working for the school district our demographics have changed considerably and we have more services for kids in need. For instance we just bought a washer and dryer for homeless students to be able to wash their clothes. When we don’t have places for these extra services and programs we use classrooms. So if I wanted to hire a new math teacher we couldn’t because we don’t have the space, we are that packed.”
Zagel said it is that way all over the district as each school has seen a large increase in students. The district is looking at weather or not they will have to re-open Arcadia school in Toledo. He said maintaining Forest Park should be a priority for the district as it is something that the middle and high school students utilize as well as the community. Jay Fineman president of the Oregon Coast Community Forest Association said they support the sale of the pool to the school district provided that the footprint of the building did not grow, and that there be space for the community for Forest Park interpretive center and trailhead.
Others at the hearing spoke against the proposed sale. Nancy Steinberg the Newport Parks and Recreation advisory committee chair said they oppose the sale. She said they would like to see the building demolished and want to keep the land in the city park’s inventory. It was suggested that there could be a land swap of some land north of the middle school. After the hearing council moved to have staff work with the school district to come up with options to be further discussed.