Ruston looks to develop Town School building

Last month, the Town Council of Ruston passed a resolution to explore development possibilities for the town-owned Ruston School building and surrounding 2.09 acres.

Finding the school under-utilized and a need for future town revenues, the Town Council decided to invite proposals for the development of this property. Hoping to receive a broad range of proposals, the council has not outlined any conceptual restrictions for development.

The property is located in a Master Planned Development zone, at 5219 North Shirley St. in the Town of Ruston. The School sits on a total of 2.09 acres that overlooks Puget Sound and the south end of Vashon Island. The property borders on a planned park that will stretch down to the waters’ edge.

The Ruston School, a red brick two-story structure, was built in 1951, with 22,000 square feet of building space and 32,000 square feet of parking.
Just north of Ruston is the 638 acre Point Defiance Park and Zoo.

Those unfamiliar with Ruston would discover a small close-knit community, whose heritage is founded in the immigrants who came to live and work in the United States from countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, Norway and Sweden.

These workers were mainly employed by the now closed American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) smelter. Choosing to live near their place of employment they settled in what is today the “one square mile” community of Ruston.

Today this small community still reflects a small-town environment, although it is surrounded by the city of Tacoma.

Those interested in submitting a proposal should submit their plans to the Town Clerk, no later than Jan. 9, 2004.

The property was appraised in August 2003. A copy of the appraisal report is available for a fee at the Town Hall.

Any inquiries should be directed to Mayor Kim Wheeler, or Karen Murphy, town clerk, at 253/752-3544.