Earlier this month, the Central Valley School District administrative office packed up and moved from its longtime home on East Cataldo Avenue to 2218 N. Molter Road in Liberty Lake.
The new building at 44,130 square feet has about 10,000 more square feet in office space than the old building, said Superintendent Ben Small. That means there’s room for existing staff and some left over for new staff hired as the district expands. “We’re continually growing,” he said. “This gives us room as we grow.”
The district had been in the office building at 19307 E. Cataldo Ave., just off Barker Road, since 1986. At the time the district had 35 bus routes, 9,853 students and 21 schools. Now the district has 80 bus routes, more than 14,000 students and 30 schools.
Small said the school board had directed him to consider new locations for the district office once it became clear the Cataldo site wouldn’t meet their needs in the future. In addition, there are also two new roundabouts on Barker Road, which present a challenge to school buses, Small said. “There’s more and more development near the Cataldo site,” he said.
Small said the Molter Road building was a good value and had the space they needed. It cost $4 million to purchase the building and install new carpet, paint and upgrade the HVAC system.
The new building has plenty of large windows to let in natural light. Most employees sit in clusters of desks in an open floor plan. “It puts our departments that have like functions and interconnected functions together,” Small said. “The communication between departments has improved, the collaboration between departments has improved.”
A new board meeting room is under construction and is expected to be completed by the next board meeting Dec. 13. It’s better suited for meetings and will have more space than the old one, Small said. “This is larger by about 700 square feet,” he said.
Communications director Marla Nunberg said she’s a fan of the new building. “I think it’s great,” she said. “I can do one loop through and catch everyone I need to. I also appreciate all the meeting spaces we have.”
The new administration building isn’t the only change in the district.
Other planned changes
A new transportation center is under construction next to the new Ridgeline High School in Liberty Lake. It will include most of the district’s bus parking, dispatch and wash bays. The site will be easier for buses to access than the one on Cataldo. The transportation center is expected to be completed in December at a cost of $2.5 million.
The district has also agreed to purchase the Western State/CAT Building at 4625 E. Trent Ave. for $4.1 million to house the District Operations Center, which oversees the transportation, maintenance and facilities departments. The site will include some bus parking.
That sale won’t be final until next summer when Western States will move into its new location in Liberty Lake. Since the building is not yet available, the district is leasing back the site at Cataldo, which sold for $6.4 million, for the next year.
The district used money from the sale of property, including the Cataldo site, to pay for the new administration building, the new transportation center and the maintenance and facilities center. The other properties sold were the old University High School on Ninth Avenue for $3.4 million and a piece of land at 44th Avenue and Bates for $1.575 million that was anticipated to be the site of a new school before the district changed its plans.
Correspondent Nina Culver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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