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District finalizes the sale of Riverside Elementary
District finalizes the sale of Riverside Elementary
Posted on 03/09/2018

It’s final. Riverside Elementary School is no longer owned by the Puyallup School District. On Friday, March 9 the district will turn the keys over to Friends of Washington Premier LLC, the soccer club whose fields are adjacent to the school district’s former property.

Riverside Elementary School opened in 1956 as part of a separate Riverside School District. The school was named in recognition for its proximity to the southern edge of the Puyallup River.  The site is located west of the City of Puyallup, south of River Road and just north of 44th Street East. In 1962, the Riverside School District consolidated with the Puyallup School District.

Prior to the 2007-2008 school year, the Puyallup School Board of Directors approved the closure of Riverside Elementary. The school’s closure was based upon a number of significant factors:

  • The school building is located in a floodplain that has a number of code requirements and restrictions including a restriction that disallows sewer connections.
  • The school building has inadequate fire flow for a fire suppression system and is located in a lahar zone.
  • Pierce County Emergency Management recommends against expansion of the school.

Riverside Elementary had also experienced steady enrollment declines partly as a result of zoning restrictions in the attendance area. The school had declined by about 140 students over the 2001-2002 to 2006-2007 school years to a total of 89 students with no increase in student enrollment in the foreseeable future. Students at the school were reassigned to Waller Road Elementary and Karshner Elementary in the 2007-2008 school year, and Riverside was closed as an elementary school.   

Beginning in the summer of 2011, the district entered into a lease with the Puget Sound Education Service District (PSESD) to house their ReLife program at Riverside. As an interim measure, this lease was successful. However, on June 5, 2017, by way of Resolution #224 2016-17, the Board of Directors declared the former Riverside Elementary property surplus to the educational needs of the district. The board gave their authorization for the district to seek a buyer for the property. Since that time district staff has been collaborating with the Washington Premier Football Club on the sale of this property.

The Puyallup School District Maintenance Department has continued its work to support this structure for several years. Beginning March 9, 2018 the district will no longer provide service to keep the building operating.

Sale of this structure is another example of the prudent decision making the Puyallup School District Board of Directors must face on a regular basis. The sensibility in selling this property allows district personnel to spend time and resources where they are needed most – in the schools housing Puyallup students and staff.