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In observance of the Presidents Day holiday, the Telegraph and Daily Gazette newspapers will not be published February 18. Breaking news and information will be updated on

Blackhawk Center will change hands

Park district plans to transfer ownership to school district

OREGON – The Blackhawk Center is getting a new owner.

The facility, home to athletic events as well as recreation and academic programs, will change hands later this year when the Oregon Park District gives it to the Oregon School District.

Both boards are expected to approve an intergovernmental agreement this month that will transfer ownership as of Sept. 1. The park board meets Tuesday and the school board meets March 19.

“It just seems to make sense that we should own the facility that we use 90 percent of the time,” school Superintendent Tom Mahoney said. “We believe Blackhawk Center is a tremendous asset for our students and schools.”

Erin Folk is the park district's executive director. “The school and park district both feel they are in a good position financially for the transfer to take place,” she said.

The change will not affect real estate tax bills.

In 1996, the park board approved building the Blackhawk Center to address overcrowding at the high school. The building at 1101 W. Jefferson St. is connected to the school by a corridor called “the link.”

The park district has maintained and staffed the building, which the school district rents.

The $168,000 yearly rent now will be sued for maintenance and salaries, Mahoney said.

He praised park district officials for keeping the rent the same for the past 3 years, even though costs have increased.

Under the terms of the agreement, the park district will make some needed repairs to the building before ownership is transferred and will pay the school district each year for the next 4 years for other capital improvements. The park district also will install a fire sprinkler system, a move necessary because school building codes are different than those governing park districts.

The park district also will pay $100,000 in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and $179,000 in 2022 toward updates on repairs that could include roofing, heating and air conditioning systems, and parking lots.

Folk said the total Blackhawk Center expenses as of March 2 for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which ends April 30, are $181,310 and includes all full-time and part-time wages, maintenance, utilities, and general expenses.

The two districts will continue to cooperatively schedule events at the facility. Mahoney said no changes are anticipated in scheduling non-school-related events.

“The school district and the park district have an excellent relationship and we will continue to support each other as we support our stakeholders,” he said.

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