It’s a sad sight for many Burien residents, arts lovers and non-profit supporters this week, as the historic old Burien Annex buildings are being demolished.
This structures, located at 425 SW 144th Street, were originally built in the 1940s as Chelsea Park Elementary School. The site more recently served as home to numerous non-profit organizations including Burien Actors Theatre, Transform Burien, Para Los Niños, The Hi-Liners, Meals-On-Wheels, and Burien Preschool Co-op School.
The cost of the demolition – being done by Construction Group International – is $621,000 – an increase of $260,000 from the original estimate, added after additional asbestos testing resulted in a change order in August, 2020.
- After all buildings on the property are demolished, the site will be graded and seeded.
- The south end of the park will remain in its current state, and the north end of the park will be an open lawn.
- The contractor and city staff will be installing lawn in the area where the buildings once stood and making repairs to the parking lot. Over the winter, the new lawn area will be fenced off to allow the new lawn to mature.
- The city warns that only the contractor and inspectors are allowed in the fenced construction zone to ensure safety. The skate park is outside the construction zone and will remain open.
- Parking will be available between the north and south areas of the park.
- The fence will remain in place after demolition until the grass matures, which will likely be spring of 2021.
- In the future, the city says it will hold discussions about the future use of this park space.
Here’s a quote from Rochelle Flynn, one of the longtime Directors at Burien Actors Theatre and who worked at the Annex starting in 1999:
“It is with great sadness that I post the pictures of the demolition of the buildings known as the Burien Annex. These structures held a lifetime of memories for me. Starting in 1999 I taught drama to teens for the Burien Parks Dept, volunteered for countless parks, arts, and city events (including a stint as the Easter Bunny for 6 years), served on the Arts Commission, worked facility rentals and in the office for Parks and the Senior program. I first acted at BAT theatre in 1985 and reconnected with them later from 2006 on. Over the years I acted in and/or directed nearly 30 shows and became a part of an eclectic, diverse, delightful community. The theatre was my second home and it lives on inside of me and countless others. I will miss it deeply. I am sorry, as well, for the other wonderful organizations that had to vacate their spaces. they were each unique and provided services to the community that no one else was offering. I send a shout-out to Transform Burien, Para Los Ninos, Hi-Liners Youth Theatre, Meals-On-Wheels, and the beloved Burien Preschool Co-op. You were great neighbors and I wish you nothing but the best.”
Below are photos taken by Scott Schaefer on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 (click image to view photo gallery):