Burien Community Center Annex Building Closure

Page updated July 22, 2020

The Burien Community Center Annex ("the Annex") occupies the former Burien Community Center. The building sits next to a multi-amenity park that includes a popular skate park, basketball court, picnic tables, and open grassy spaces.

On May 18, 2020, Council voted to demolish the Burien Community Center Annex. The demolition process will occur after July 31, 2020.

After extensive debate and consideration, the City Council voted to demolish the Burien Community Center Annex (“the Annex”). This follows six months of public process and discussion. The demolition process will occur after July 31, 2020 when the leases end for the remaining tenants. The decision was based on significant concerns about the buildings’ safety for the tenants, public, and staff. Many of the systems in the building are at the end of their operational life.

The Council also authorized $350,000 be transferred from other capital projects and the capital reserve to the demolition of the Annex. This means that a project aimed at addressing a non-critical landslide area in Seahurst Park and a master plan process for Hilltop Park will be delayed. The City’s Annex Tenant Support Team will continue working with Annex tenants on relocation efforts.

The City of Burien recognizes the years of service that the tenants have provided to the Burien community. Because some of the tenants are still working on relocation efforts, the City will maintain the Annex Tenant Support Team to assist the tenants with relocation. It is important to the City and Council that tenants find a location that suits their needs, ideally in Burien. The City is evaluating other ways that it may be of assistance to the tenants.

Planning efforts are underway to determine the process for demolishing the building. The City will be in communication with residents and stakeholders about the process. A larger community engagement effort is also being planned to determine community center services in the future.

What is next for the Annex property?

City staff are developing a community engagement process for 2021 that will evaluate and prioritize the types of services needed in the community and the necessary facilities to provide those services. That process would determine if those needs would be addressed at the Annex site, at an alternative location, through partnerships or in other ways. The community will also participate in the ultimate use of the Annex site, whether it be a future building, park or other public amenity.

Why is the Annex being closed? 

The City hired MENG Analysis in November 2019 to conduct an examination of the Annex in order to provide an assessment of the condition of the Annex’s roof, chimney, boiler, HVAC, air quality, electrical, foundation, and other fixtures. The City undertook this evaluation in order to inform the City’s decision to either salvage or demolish the Annex.

The consultant delivered a Facility Condition Assessment of the condition of the Annex to City on December 16, 2019 . The consultant reported several key environmental health and safety concerns such as materials potentially containing asbestos that are deteriorating, lead pipes that may cause elevated lead levels in drinking water, structural issues with the chimney, and lack of fire sprinklers throughout most of the facility. Furthermore, the consultant identified several systems that are at the end of their useful life including, the building’s plumbing, boiler, electrical, and ventilation systems. The physical structure of the building is also failing including the roof, siding and windows.. Common industry practice is to create a scale for interpreting the Facility Condition Index as a way to prioritize facility needs and or to determine if a facility is worth updating. The Annex was rated as critical condition on the Facility Condition Index, meaning the deficiencies cost more than building replacement. Costs include:

  • Deficiencies requiring remediation by 2024 total $6 million.
  • Of that, approximately 12 percent or $738,000 are directly related to life and safety.
  • After the deficiencies are addressed, the cost of maintaining the facility as-is (assuming no large code-upgrades or remodels) from 2025 to 2038 is another $4.8 million.
  • The estimated cost for replacing the North Building with a new facility is $6.8 million.
  • The estimated cost for replacing the South Building with a new facility is $4.6 million.

Burien Community Center Annex Facility Condition Reports

Annex tenant support

The City of Burien has assembled an internal team dedicated to assisting the tenants of the Annex with relocation. The Annex Tenant Support Team is evaluating other city facilities, seeking alternate sites in Burien, and working with external partners to support relocation efforts. The City will also be waiving rent for the month of January for all the organizations and on July 6, 2020, Council approved refunding April through June rent.

History of the Burien Community Center Annex

Chelsea Park Elementary School was built on former farm and residential land. The school was constructed in the late 1940s to relieve overcrowding at Lake Burien, Hazel Valley, and Sunnydale Elementary Schools. Chelsea Park School closed in 1976.

With funding from the 1968 Forward Thrust Parks and Recreation bond, the former school building was converted to the Highline Community Center and was managed by the King County Parks Department. Once the City of Burien incorporated in 1993, ownership of the buildings and grounds transferred to the City and it became the Burien Community Center. For many years, it served as the offices of the Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department (PaRCS).

In 2010, the City relocated the PaRCS department to the former Burien Library building at 14700 6th Ave SW, which the City had acquired several years earlier. The former library building became the new Burien Community Center. This left the former building in need of a new name, and it was then renamed the Community Center Annex, or simply “The Annex.”

Nonprofit organizations have worked out of the building for decades.