Fate of Seabeck Elementary school unknown

Will the Seabeck Elementary School remain in the hands of the Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) or will someone step forward to purchase the property that many Seabeck residents have fought to keep in the public’s hands?

Those questions remained unanswered last week as CKSD Executive Director of Business and Operations David McVicker updated the CKSD Board of Directors on the property’s status.

“You can rent, you can sell, you can lease, but you cannot sell for less than that 90 percent (of the property’s assessed value),” McVicker told the board.

The majority of the residents in the area want to keep the school building property in public ownership, he said, as he released the data from the two public hearings held last month about the school’s future.

Those hearings were extra steps the district took that it didn’t necessarily have to, CKSD Superintendent Greg Lynch said.

“I don’t think most school districts go through what we go through, because we’re doing extra steps, so people know what’s going on,” Lynch said.

Currently the district is paying for the mothball costs for the building and those costs will increase by 10 percent each year, he said.

“That basically keeps the heat at 55 degrees and pays for the maintenance costs,” he said, noting several groups have expressed an interest in renting the school’s gym.

That could occur without having to raise the temperature in the entire building as the district’s facilities staff has said they can meter the heat that goes into the building, so they can increase the heat in the gym, McVicker said.

In the future, there will be a need for a new Seabeck Elementary School, he said, noting it could either be a new construction project or a renovation/remodel project, both of which would qualify for matching funds from the state.

“With a remodel/renovation project you will probably end up in the middle of the pack,” he told the board, adding each year projects that aren’t funded the previous year must compete again with new projects.

In the past, the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) has funded every eligible project, although 1998 was the last time the allocated funds didn’t cover all eligible projects, McVicker said.

“Our concern was with OSPI,” Lynch said. “I wanted some reassurance when the economy is bad.”

Based upon conversations with OSPI, Lynch said the district was told it might have to wait a year before receiving state matching funds.

The recommendation from the committee, which explored the options for the building, is that the board continue with the surplus process, McVicker said.

“Our next step would be working with the council to develop criteria for rental, lease and sale,” McVicker said, adding the process should take about 30 days. “If someone were to come forward with an offer, then you would return back to the criteria and see what you might do.”

CKSD Board President Bruce Richards said that option gives the district the most flexibility in terms of deciding what to do with the building.

“We’re not obligated to do anything,” Richards said.

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