Seattle Schools' plan for Memorial Stadium

Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Center have completed a proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on redevelopment of the Memorial Stadium site into a green, integrated, multi-functional space that provides for year-round community and school activities. The proposed MOA now moves to the Seattle City Council and the Seattle School Board for consideration and approval.

The proposed Agreement outlines the terms for the future of Memorial Stadium and allows the City of Seattle six years to determine public/private funding for site development. Under the MOA, the School District has priority use of the new stadium from after Labor Day to just before Memorial Day, and for graduations in June. The Seattle Center receives priority use for the remainder of the year, when the facility will be converted to a concert venue. This joint proposal also calls for preserving and moving the Memorial Wall to a respectful location on the Seattle Center grounds, in consultation with veterans groups.

Redevelopment of the Memorial Stadium site fulfills a primary objective of the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, adopted by the Seattle City Council in August 2008, to create more accessible open space that provides for a dynamic mix of activities. The Master Plan calls for replacement of the Stadium with a multi-purpose athletic field and concert venue on the existing parking lot site next to Fifth Avenue, and a grassy lid covering an underground transportation hub and parking facility between the stadium and the International Fountain. When complete, the new site will serve as the centerpiece of a re-invigorated Seattle Center, ready to serve the needs of diverse communities long into the future.

Seattle Public Schools currently owns and operates Memorial Stadium on land deeded by the City of Seattle to the School District for use as an athletic stadium. It also owns the adjacent parking lot east of the Stadium, which would be incorporated into the new space. Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Center have been in negotiations over the past two years to determine shared use of the site.

The proposal calls for Seattle Center to own the existing Memorial Stadium site, and to lease the parking lot from the School District. Seattle Center would construct and operate the facility, and pay Seattle Public Schools annual rent payments of approximately $2.5 million, plus escalation, for 60 years. The total term of the lease is 99 years. Once the new facility, including an underground parking garage is constructed, Seattle Center would demolish the existing Mercer Garage and transfer ownership of half the garage to Seattle Public Schools.

"We are pleased to be working with Seattle Center and the City of Seattle to develop a plan for redevelopment of Memorial Stadium that provides a quality athletic stadium as well as a long term revenue stream for our District," said Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D. "This project is an example of how two public agencies can work in partnership to create a much greater benefit to our students and community than either agency could accomplish in isolation. In addition, both Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Center are totally committed to creating a prominent location for the Memorial Wall that is a fitting place of honor for our Veterans."

The Century 21 Committee, which created the Master Plan, asserted the importance of taking down the concrete walls and integrating the Memorial Stadium into the Center in order to make the campus whole,” stated Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams. "We see this proposal as a win-win -- for Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Center and all of the communities we both serve."

For more information on the future of the Memorial Stadium and the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, visit here or call 206- 684-7200.

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