''Sorry, didn't know where to post this or where to find the confirming information, but this piece was on the CD News:
Is the district indeed selling, as opposed to retaining, the MLK building?"
The answer is yes but it also includes the option for a long-term lease (20 years or more). Here is the information from the SPS website.
From the School Use Advisory Committee for MLK Elementary School document:
"The residential makeup surrounding MLK School is principally single-family homes. All members of the committee and other nearby neighbors expressed their desire to retain the quality of life that reflects the residential character of the neighborhood. Some of the concerns expressed both by committee members and other community members were traffic, parking, security, lighting and noise; and minimizing their impacts on the neighborhood. The second and third meetings delved into the type of uses and explored the conditions for re-use of MLK School. From the discussion at the third meeting and subsequent meetings, a draft report was prepared that was the basis of the committee’s final recommendations for criteria."
Background from the document (please note that I did cut and paste from the document in order to provide continuity):
"MLK School was built in 1930. It is a building inside a 1958 building. SPS did a study and the maintenance needs of the school amount to several million dollars to bring the building to code. The building is aging and needs help to be a home for any group that would occupy it. The school program was closed in June 2006. In January 2008, SPS decided to change the status of MLK School from the list of inventory to surplus. The school is two acres and the normal size for schools is four acres so MLK School is too small a site to be reopened as an elementary school. In March, the school board adopted a policy on how to rent or sell buildings."
The choices are sell to the Bush school, a highly-regarded private K-12 school right behind MLK, or have a community group lease it for a community center (somewhat like University Heights). The community has expressed a big desire for a playfield/playground area for their neighborhood.
From the Central District News story:
"Adrienne (Bailey, a Madison Valley resident) has been working with the Citizens for a Community Center at M.L. King (CCC@MLKing) group for more than two years to get that piece of community back by organizing other community leaders, city officials, and state legislators to turn the school into an official community center for Madison Valley. They're working on a proposal to purchase the school, recently appraised at $2.4 million, and turn it over to the community for its use. Funds would come from a variety of sources, including a pot of state money that has been specifically dedicated for this sort of purpose."
"The neighboring Bush School has a different vision. They've been expanding steadily for years, adding new buildings to accommodate their 580 students in grades K-8. But the density of their educational buildings has left out one thing that is typically found at schools: space for playfields.
We spoke to Maia Kaz, Director of Communications for the school, who described the availability of the MLK property as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the school to expand its campus and facilities on an adjacent property." Bush School administrators don't want to lose that opportunity, and plan to submit a proposal to purchase the MLK property from Seattle Schools and use it to create playfields for the school's PE and athletic programs.
Kaz stressed that they've tried to be completely open about their intentions for the property by attending community meetings and participating in the public process that has led up to the sale. She also says that the school is committed to share the play fields with the surrounding community whenever they're not in use by the school."Dates:
Deadline for Questions or Clarifications: October 1, 2009 – 2:00 p.m.
Addendum issued, if required: October 6, 2009
Submission of Proposals due: October 15, 2009 – 2:00 p.m.
Selection of Finalists: November 2009 (estimated)
School Board determination of whether to
negotiate with selected proposers: December 2009 (if required)
Clarification of Proposals / Negotiations: December 2009 (estimated)
Selection of Successful Lessee/Buyer: January 2010 (estimated)
Introduction to School Board: January 6, 2010 (estimated)
Action by School Board: January 20, 2010 (estimated)
Execution of Lease or Sale Agreement: January 31, 2010 (estimated)
Closing of Sale: April 30, 2010 (estimated)
Folks, we really are holding onto way too many buildings. The district can't maintain them all (or protect them all as evidenced by Viewlands). We clearly aren't using them ourselves nor leasing them. Strategic planning i.e. holding onto the buildings in the best condition and in different areas of the city might be a good place to start. Yes, we see that having extra buildings is important because of the North end enrollment issues but if you do short to mid-term leases, then you have the option to get them back.
Then the issue becomes this: is it best to give preference to community uses (even if it is less money for the district) or to get the highest price and plow the money back into facilities?