Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center
Pro Parks Project Information

Location: Seward Park - 5900 Lake Wash. Blvd.

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Karen O'Connor
RDA Building, 3rd Floor
800 Maynard Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134-1336



May 2008

Thank you Seattle this project is complete!

This project renovated the historic 1927 landmark building into an outdoor education center that is a partnership between the City of Seattle and National Audubon Society. The new center includes:
Two large class rooms
Welcome Center/Gift Shop

Audubon has completed the process of working through the schematic design phase of this project with South Seattle communities, organizations and with Mithun Architects. Construction began May 4, 2007.

Smith Construction Services, Inc. of Snohomish, WA has been award the construction contract.

Project Completion is scheduled for November 2007.

There is an agreement between the Seattle Parks and Recreation and the National Audubon Society to renovate the Seward Park Annex Building and the Hatchery for environmental education programs; and establishing the conditions under which Audubon may use and occupy a portion of the named facilities for a period of ten years with an option to continue use and occupancy for an additional 10 years. The City Council approved the agreement on June 16, 2003.

Please visit to this site for additional information in the future.

Seward Park - 5900 Lake Wash. Blvd.
The Pro Parks Levy provides $618,600 project costs to partially fund renovation of the Building (the Audubon Center) and the Fish Hatchery for the use as an Environmental Education Center. Parks will contribute $318,000 to renovate the building.
Planning: Completed
Design: Community Driven, Completed Spring 2006
Construction: 5/1/2007
Completion: November 2007


Students Look at Guide
Field Guide Cover
Students Look at Guide
Watching the Eagle's nest
Field Guide Completion Celebration, June 2006
Environmental education and stewardship are key elements of Seattle Parks and Recreation's (Parks) mission. While historically Parks has initiated a host of environmental practices and programs, the department is enhancing these efforts through the development of neighborhood based services in parks throughout the city, maximizing use of its vast inventory of natural settings as outdoor classrooms. This increased priority is reflected in Parks and Recreation 2000 Plan, in recently adopted Environmental Stewardship policies and in several initiatives described in the 2000 voter-approved Pro Parks Levy.

One of these initiatives is the development of an environmental education center in Seward Park. The park's natural assets afford a multitude of programming and stewardship opportunities and are ideally located to further Parks' outreach to communities under served by environmental organizations. Currently, the Annex Building in Seward Park is home to Outdoor Opportunities and an interpretive naturalist program.

To augment these services, Parks proposed in the Pro Parks Levy the renovation of the Annex Building into a fully operational center. While the Levy identified $618,600 for renovation of the Annex Building for the Center and the Hatchery, this amount of funding was not expected to cover all the costs of renovation, and it did not provide funds for expanded programming. As expressed in Ordinance 120024, the City's intention was to leverage the Levy funds through collaborations with public and private organizations.

To provide both the additional funding for the renovation of the Annex Building and to expand the environmental stewardship programming, Parks has partnered with the National Audubon Society (Audubon). Audubon also views Seward Park as an ideal location to further its conservation mission and its 1995 Strategic Plan to develop 20 Audubon Centers around the state.

Because Parks and Audubon share not only a common mission, but also a commitment to serving diverse communities and a programmatic approach that uses natural areas as classrooms, this partnership will stimulate the leveraging of resources, expertise, and outreach services.

Through collaborative and cooperative programming between Parks and Audubon, the environmental stewardship of Seward Park and the quality and quantity of educational opportunities will be enhanced.

The total renovation cost of the building is estimated at $1,550,203. Audubon has proposed raising approximately $932,000, to be added to the $618,600 from the Levy to complete the design and renovation. Audubon will also raise funds to cover all the operating costs for their programs and for their use of the Center facilities.

Parks and Audubon propose to work with South Seattle communities, organizations, and individuals in developing the renovation project, programs, use of the park, and other terms and conditions of the partnership identified in contractual use agreements between the City and Audubon.

SUMMARY OF Agreement between Audubon and Parks
The following highlights some of the provisions in the agreement.

The long term objective is to jointly fund the renovation of the Annex Building in Seward Park into an environmental education center that will house both Parks and Audubon environmental stewardship programs. Both organizations' programs will:
  • Be coordinated;
  • Be community responsive, particularly to South Seattle communities;
  • Use volunteers in the delivery of services;
  • Conduct community outreach with emphasis on diverse and under-served groups;
  • Maximize opportunities for all citizens to be involved in the planning, delivery and use of services.
Audubon programs will be affordable and accessible to the public and fees and subject to Parks approval.

Audubon will manage the construction and design of the project with approval at each stage by Parks. Both Parks and Audubon were members of the design team.
Audubon has raised approximately $1 million for the renovation of the building. Parks will contribute of $318,000 to renovate the building as identified in the Pro Parks Levy. The other $300,000 was used to renovate the hatchery buildings at Seward Park for use in instruction.

Before the project is implemented, Parks and Audubon will enter a Use Agreement that details specific terms and conditions, including how the building will be used by Audubon; rental payments, maintenance obligations, insurance, licenses, taxes, and other requirements; and program services, operations, reporting, approvals, design and construction and fundraising. The term of the Use Agreement will be ten years with the possibility of two five-year extensions.

Project Design

Public meetings regarding the design were conducted in 2004 and 2005. Mithun Architects were chosen to design the center. The building has been listed on the historical register and must comply with rules for historic preservation. The outside of the building will look the same and the two large interior rooms will also remain. Other parts of the building will be converted into offices and laboratory and study space.

Audubon Center Contact Information

Gail Gatton, Seward Audubon and Environmental Learning Center Director
Audubon Washington
1411 4th Avenue, Suite 920
Seattle, WA 98101-2204


Updated  5/25/2007 10:01 
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