Gault Middle School closed in 2009.
Now, after 12 years of trying to find a buyer for the former school site, Tacoma Public Schools has started two simultaneous efforts aimed at ending Gault’s recent history as a deteriorating, hard-to-secure site:
1. Early in 2022, Tacoma Public Schools will make one final solicitation of proposals from potential buyers and developers who have the wherewithal to redevelop the site.
2. The district has filed a demolition permit application with the City of Tacoma to demolish the main brick building on the school site. If the effort to find a developer fails, then TPS will pursue demolition of the 1926-era building.
“We want to make sure something positive happens on the site—one way or the other,” said Alicia Lawver, Director of Strategic Planning, who is leading the district’s effort to find potential buyers.
Earlier this year, the school district filed applications to demolish all the newer but dilapidated buildings on the Gault site, but did not include a demolition application for the older, multi-story brick structure.
Once the City of Tacoma approves those first demolition permits, expected soon, the district will seek bids for a contractor or contractors and begin demolition of those structures. This work is separate from the current efforts around the original 1926-era building.
In October to spark interest, the district, in collaboration with multiple City of Tacoma departments, hosted an informational virtual Gault summit for area developers that included a question-and-answer session with the City’s Planning, Economic Development, and Historic Preservation departments. Now, the district and City of Tacoma are compiling background documents on the building, its condition, and possible allowable uses. Those documents will be part of the early 2022 solicitation of developer proposals.
Back in January, the most recent appraisal set the value of the Gault building site, 1115 E. Division Lane, at $1.055 million and the athletic field at $660,000. None of the Gault property is on any historic registers.
About Tacoma Schools
Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...