Spokane Journal of Business

Central Valley School District buys former Yoke’s building

Site to play role in capital facilities bond measure

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The Central Valley School District has bought the former Yoke’s supermarket site at 16 N. Progress Road for $2.4 million and plans to use the building as the cornerstone for a major capital facilities bond measure likely to go before voters in February, says Ben Small, the CVSD superintendent.

The district plans to move its alternative high school and its Early Learning Center into the 63,200-square-foot building following planned renovations, Small says.

“We feel moving Barker High School to a renovated, permanent space is very important,” he says. “It becomes the linchpin in moving forward with bond plans and building capacity.”

The CVSD board is expected to set a bond dollar amount for the planned capital projects in coming weeks, Small says.

“We hope to have a resolution in late September or early October,” he says.

Preliminary estimates put the bond share of the major projects at $112.9 million, with an additional $57.8 million coming from the state.

Small cautions, though, that those estimates could change if the school board sees the need to include other projects in the bond request.

“We’re putting on needs—not wants. The Board has approved the major projects,” he says. “We’re working on determining whether there are other smaller projects that need to be included in the bond.”

Major construction projects envisioned under the proposed 2015 bond measure would include constructing a new elementary school and renovating and expanding five elementary schools and a middle school.

The schools up for renovation are Evergreen Middle School, and Opportunity, Greenacres, Chester, Sunrise, and Ponderosa elementary schools.

Other objectives of the bond would be to conduct preliminary planning for a new high school and to acquire land adjacent to North Pines Middle School, onto which the school would expand or move sometime in the future.

CVSD operates 23 schools and serves a total of 13,000 students.

Small says the district has had a surge in enrollment coinciding with the recovering economy and improving housing market.

“At a moderate recovery rate, we’re projected to grow 1.6 percent annually at the elementary schools, and 1.2 percent at the high school,” he says. “We have to prepare for capacity and be ready for it.”

The new elementary school would have a capacity of 624 students, and the renovation projects would increase student capacity by an additional 758 students.

The Yoke’s purchase includes the building and 6 acres of land.

Mike Livingston and James Quigley, both of Spokane-based Kiemle & Hagood Co., negotiated the real estate transaction.

Spokane-based supermarket chain Yoke’s Foods Inc. vacated the building when its lease there expired in 2010.

Small says being able to use the existing building and infrastructure to accommodate Barker High School and the Early Learning Center will help maximize the district’s resources and reduce costs to taxpayers.

Barker High School serves 220 students and currently is located in the former Blake Elementary School building, at 13313 E. Broadway.

The Early Learning Center, which is located on the former University High School campus, at 10304 E. Ninth, serves 380 preschool students, 130 children with special needs, and 75 children in child care.

The Yoke’s purchase is being funded through short-term financing that will be repaid through a separate state funding mechanism CVSD receives for its early learning student enrollment, the district says.

Capital facilities bond funds would be used for further renovations, creating separate facilities in the Yoke’s building for high school and preschool students.

“Upon passage, the design will be completed and ready to go to construction,” Small says. “If all goes well, it will be ready to move into in the fall of 2015.”

Summit School and Spokane Valley Learning Academy would relocate in the fall of 2016 to the former Blake Elementary School from their current location at the former Keystone Elementary School, at 612 S. McDonald.

At that time, the former U-High and Keystone schools would be available to accommodate students displaced by renovations of their respective schools during 2015 bond project construction.

The district was in the process of interviewing three architectural firms for the proposed school projects last week, Small says, though he declined to name them. “We will assign projects to firms in mid-September, so they are geared and ready to go when bond passes,” he says.

CVSD has issued a call for qualifications from construction management service providers for the school projects.

“We also want to make sure we’re able to get projects into construction pipeline in a timely fashion,” he says.

Small says district representatives aren’t taking it for granted that voters will approve the bond.

“We know we have to work really hard to get information out to the community,” he says. “We have a hard path. Through that path we’re making sure we’re prepared for success.”

While land acquisition for the expansion of North Pines Middle School, and some preliminary specifications or a new high school envisioned at 16th Avenue and Henry Road would occur under the proposed bond, construction on both envisioned projects wouldn’t be part of the 2015 bond, Small says.

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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