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CVSD considers buying former Yoke’s building

The Central Valley School District has started the process to purchase the old Yoke’s at Sprague Avenue and Progress Road.

Superintendent Ben Small gave the school board details of the plan during a special meeting Monday. The purchase price has been set at $2.375 million. The board agreed to put up $50,000 in earnest money. The district has 120 days to make sure the property is right for the district’s needs, discuss ways to finance the deal, and appraise the property.

If the district decides not to purchase the property, the earnest money will be returned and the property will go back on the market.

The property is within the district’s boundaries, has enough open space for play areas, has street access and is near public transportation. The property is 5.96 acres and the building is 63,169 square feet. There were three major remodels on the building in the past 15 years.

The district hopes to solve several challenges with the purchase. District spokeswoman Melanie Rose said there are plans to place the Early Learning Center in the building, as well as Barker High School. The Early Learning Center is now at the old University High School and Barker High School has been at the old Blake Elementary School, which is small for high school student needs and doesn’t provide space for laboratories.

If the deal goes through, Rose said renovations could start right away and the Early Learning Center could move into the building by December.

The district would need to pass a construction bond before renovating a section of the building for Barker students. If the district passes a bond in February 2015, they could potentially move in by December 2015.

In fall 2016, Summit School could move into the old Blake Elementary School. Summit is now in the old Keystone Elementary School which could be used to house students from Chester and Ponderosa during renovations of those schools, if a bond passes.

“It will give us some more breathing room,” Rose said.

Funding for the building could be done a couple of ways. Small told the board they could use a traditional bank loan, the state Treasurer’s Local Option Capital Asset Lending program or non-voted bonds.

“Non-voted bonds are the most favorable option for us,” Rose said. Non-voted bonds allow the district to secure the funds through bonds and are paid for through the district’s budget, not a new tax for property owners. The district used similar funds when it purchased what is now Spokane Valley Tech.

“It’s a pretty important, strategic purchase for us, assuming that we are successful in our due diligence,” Rose said.

The old Yoke’s has been considered as a possible location for a new Spokane Valley city hall.

“It was on our long list, but I don’t think it was ever on our short list,” said City Manager Mike Jackson.