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Central Valley School Board approves purchase of gun club land for new high school

UPDATED: Fri., July 13, 2018, 2:44 p.m.

The Central Valley School District Board agreed Monday to buy more than 99 acres from the Spokane Gun Club for a future site of its third comprehensive high school.

The school board voted unanimously at a meeting Monday to scrap prior plans for a high school near the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area at 16th Street and Henry Road, after officials were told the plans would cost more than $2.7 million more than budgeted because of increased costs with road improvements and extension of sewer and water service.

The Central Valley School District board will move forward with building a new $95 million, 240,000-square-foot high school at the gun club site north of Henry Road and Sprague Avenue. The district expects to pay a little more than $8 million for the additional land, but costs will be lower than at the other proposed site because of fewer road and infrastructure needs. The proposal will leave the school district with about $3 million in reserves.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a nearly $130 million bond measure earlier this year to fund construction of the new school.

The school district approached the Spokane Gun Club this spring about acquiring its property, and the Spokane Gun Club board of directors approved the sale on July 2. The gun club plans to relocate to a new site, but no representatives attended the meeting Monday night to say where that location will be.

“Our club has a 126-year history with a strong emphasis on community service. The sale of this property will enable the club to move to a new location and continue serving the community for years to come,” Bob Thornton, president of the Spokane Gun Club, said in a statement. “We view this as a win-win.”

The school district also looked at the option of a split campus, which called for construction of a high school near Henry Road with sports facilities located north of Sprague Avenue. However, that plan would create a $3.5 million budget shortfall.

The school district cited best use of taxpayer dollars, construction costs, timing and accessibility to the proposed new high school to be built by 2021 as reasons for approving the site change.

Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small said the Sprague Avenue and Henry Road site is an ideal location for a new high school.

“After a very thorough analysis of all available land in the district, it became clear that this parcel would best meet the needs of our students, families and the community,” he said in a statement.

Construction of the new school is scheduled to begin in July 2019.

Editor’s note: This story was changed on July 13, 2018 to correct the amount paid by the school district for the gun club land.