Lake Oswego Parks & Rec programs settle into their new home
Considering it just moved halfway across the city, the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department's Teen Lounge looks impressively familiar.
All of the Lounge's core features — the board games; the TVs and video game systems; the skee ball, ping pong and air hockey tables; and even the collages of photos adorning the walls — have made the trip from the Palisades building to the undercroft at Christ Church Episcopal Parish (1060 Chandler Road).
"The foundation is there," says Teen and Youth Program Coordinator Sydny Fletcher, "and when kids come in, they're really seeing the Teen Lounge that they've been used to since it opened."
For students returning to the Teen Lounge after school this week, the transition should feel pretty seamless — but it took a whirlwind of preparation to get there. Fletcher and her team have been hard at work for the past three weeks decorating the undercroft and setting up all the Teen Lounge features.
"We started working on it meaningfully last Monday," Fletcher told The Review last week. "They took basically everything that was left in Palisades and plopped it there (on the floor)."
The setup had to wait until the end of August because the undercroft received a series of upgrades during the summer, including new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. At the same time, Fletcher and other staffers were busy running Parks & Rec summer camps at the Bryant Elementary campus, which left just a few weeks to prepare the new Teen Lounge before the start of the school year.
In addition to the main recreation space, the lounge features a side room that serves as both a computer lab and small kitchen area. It also has its own dedicated entrance from the church's lower parking lot, with an entry hall that includes restrooms and a row of storage cubbies.
The lounge is open to students in grades 6-12 from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. "This is their own home and their own space," says Parks & Rec supervisor Kelleigh Brown.
The Teen Lounge is just one item on a long list of Parks & Rec programs and spaces that have been relocated to the church, which is being abbreviated in catalogs and class listings as CCP. The department had leased the vacant Palisades Elementary School building for the past three years to serve as its headquarters, but earlier this year the Lake Oswego School District informed Parks & Rec that it was taking the building back.
The Lake Oswego City Council is working on a long-term plan to develop a permanent headquarters for Parks & Rec at the municipal golf course, but the facility is still years away from being ready. In the meantime, the department had to find temporary homes for all of its office and programming spaces.
Most of the offices were moved to the existing golf course clubhouse and the farmhouse at Luscher Farm, and a number of classes are now being held at the Adult Community Center in First Addition. For the remainder of the programs, Parks & Rec entered into an agreement with CCP to move into several of the church's underutilized spaces, such as the undercroft and Sunday School classrooms.
In addition to the Teen Lounge, the church will also host the indoor playground and a variety of music and art classes, as well as a few Parks & Rec staff. Some of those staff members showed off each of the new spaces at an Open House last Thursday.
"I think this will actually be better — it's a little more centrally located," says Judy Stubb, who teaches Bob Ross Oil Painting classes. "This is going to be a great partnership."
The two classrooms have been christened the Sandy Studio and the Santiam Room — the same names as their predecessors at Palisades. Sandy is the art studio, hosting classes that include Bob Ross Oil Painting, watercolor painting, rock painting and youth art classes. The Santiam Room will be the music studio, equipped with keyboards and other instruments.
The church's wood-floored McGinnis chapel will be used for yoga classes, tap dancing and youth dance classes, while the larger Cummins hall will host the indoor playground program. Brown and Fletcher will both use offices on the church's second floor, along with a couple of other Parks and Teen Lounge staff.
"For the most part, we're moved in," says Parks & Rec director Ivan Anderholm. The only things that still have to be set up are a couple of equipment storage spaces, he says.
According to Anderholm, the department's lease with CCP will last for three years, with an option for a two-year renewal depending on the status of the golf course headquarters project.
"Three years, in my mind, made me really comfortable with the capital improvements we made to the space," he says. "With the three years, I think we have it worked out really well."
For more information about Parks & Rec classes and their new locations, visit www.loparks.org. For more about the Teen Lounge, call 971-563-8046 during operating hours.