Spokane Journal of Business

District 81 to buy land east of LC

District says property crucial to expansion of old school; two businesses housed there

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With the renovation and expansion of Lewis & Clark High School looming just 14 months away, Spokane School District 81 is taking steps to buy most of a city block just east of the downtown-area school that it says is crucial for the expansion.


Two businessesThe Outlaw Restaurant and Exchange Nickel Want Adsand eight structures currently are located on the property the district intends to buy. Much of the land is owned by seven trusts that are owned by members of the family of Spokane businessman David A. Clack or that have the same office address as Clack, who couldnt be reached for comment. The block is bounded by Stevens and Washington streets, and Fourth and Fifth avenues.


Ned Hammond, District 81s facilities director, says the school district plans to raze or move all eight buildings and use the land to construct a new fieldhouse for LC on that property and connect the structure to the high school via a skywalk that will span Stevens. The high schools current fieldhouse, located west of the schools main building, will be torn down and replaced with a grassy plaza.


The district is having the property it wants to buy appraised by Auble & Associates Inc., of Spokane. It expects that work to be done next month, after which the district intends to make offers on the property, Hammond says. He was unsure what would happen if the offers are rejected and referred that question to another school district official, who couldnt be reached for comment.


Tim Krueger, who owns The Outlaw, says he plans to close the restaurant, which is located at the northwest corner of Fifth and Washington, this fall in conjunction with the LC project. He says he hasnt decided whether to reopen the restaurant elsewhere. The Outlaw employs six people and has been located in the same place for more than 20 years, Krueger says.


I can stay until they give me a 90-day notice, but this will give me an adventure, he says, referring to the restaurants pending closure.


Exchange Nickel Want Ads, a classified advertising publication that has been located at 413 W. Fourth for about five years, is seeking a new location in the downtown area, says Aaron Spurway, a partner in Exchange Publishing, the Spokane partnership that owns Exchange Nickel Want Ads. The publication, which also has a Spokane Valley office, employs 15 people.


Walter Haig, who owns a small office building at 414 W. Fifth and had operated an accounting firm there, couldnt be reached for comment regarding plans for his office building, which also recently housed two other tenants. It was unclear whether those tenants have moved.


Michaelis Land Services, of Spokane, will handle the negotiations between the school district and the property owners. According to Spokane County records, those owners include Krueger, who owns a 14,500-square-foot site that houses The Outlaw building and an abandoned car wash just to its north; Walter and Judy Haig, who own the office building on Fifth; and the aforementioned trusts, which own most of the rest of the block. The district already owns a warehouse building on the block, as well as the land it sits on. The district has been using the building for storage, and plans to move items stored there to other district buildings throughout Spokane.


All but one of the structures in the block will be demolished to make way for the new fieldhouse. The building owned by the Haigs, however, is registered as a historic building with the Spokane Historic Preservation Office.


The district has agreed to attempt to re-sell the building to a buyer who would preserve it by moving it to another site, says Kathy Ely, District 81 purchasing director.


District 81 says it also is eyeing the block just to the south of the one it currently hopes to buy. That block, located between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Washington and Stevens streets, would be used for physical-education play fields.


The district has yet to notify property owners within that block of its intentions, and probably wont do so until it acquires the land just to the east of the school, says Hammond. Six structures are located in that block, including three homes, a Jacobs Java espresso hut, a driveup ATM branch of Wells Fargo Bank, and a vacant bank branch building.Other plansThe big LC project is expected to cost about $42 million and was approved by patrons overwhelmingly in February in a $74.5 million bond issue. Northwest Architectural Co., of Spokane is designing the project. Construction bids are expected to be sought in July 1999 and work is to begin shortly thereafter.


In addition to the new fieldhouse, the project involves renovating the nearly 190,000-square-foot main high school building, which district officials refer to as the 1911 building, after the year it was erected; renovating a smaller, 10,000-square-foot annex building, which school officials refer to as the 1908 building; replacing a set of locker rooms at Hart Field, the schools athletic facility located near 37th Avenue and Grand Boulevard on the South Hill; and providing other on-site and off-site improvements.


Hammond says the district still is deciding where LCs about 1,550 students will attend classes for two years while the school is being renovated.


Our goal is to move kids out of the 1911 building and leave it totally vacant for the contractor, Hammond says.


Among the options the district is considering are leasing much of the historic Holley Mason Building, a 132,000-square-foot vacant building located about two blocks north of LC, at 157 S. Howard; vacating a portion of Fourth Avenue near the school to make room for several portable classrooms that would be set up there; leasing portions of several nearby buildings; or using the old Bryant School building, a former elementary school on the north end of the Maple Street Bridge.

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