SPOKANE, Wash. - Local dog owners are upset after hearing that Spokane Public Schools is considering building a new middle school on the 15-acre dog park on the South Hill.

"This isn't just a dog park, this is a people's park, and this is what we are trying to stress," said dog owner Ed Newman.

Newman echoed much of what others are saying: If SPS and the city build on the park, it would be a huge loss for the community.

"They just don't seem to realize how important it is to have a place like this," he said.

A district spokesperson said during a meeting Tuesday night that the new school would take up most of the dog park, but they would build a new two-acre dog park in a different location, according to Newman

Newman said that's not enough.

"We need to have at least 10 acres, with a big space for dogs to run, with a fence and trees," he said.

Newman says if the park is closed, it won't happen without a fight.

The new middle school would open in the 2023-24 school year and would be called Carla Peperzak Middle School.

SPS said they are working to find other options for another dog park.

They also sent KHQ this statement below:

"Spokane Public Schools is committed to partnering with the community to identify alternative dog park solutions on the south hill. An informal, small group meeting was scheduled yesterday between Spokane Public Schools, the City of Spokane, and leadership representatives for the South Hill Dog Park."

The meeting intended to share an update on the current timeline and potential locations, review desired attributes, and discuss the best way to solicit input from the community and engage users of the dog park in the planning process.

Any perceptions or messages that the meeting was intended for large public comment or broad community engagement were inaccurate. One of the key purposes of the meeting was to plan and collaborate with dog park leadership representatives on how to receive input and conduct community engagement moving forward. 

We look forward to involving the community in the process of providing feedback and offering suggestions as we find a new location for our citizens and four-legged friends."