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NSD will sell land to city of Bothell

The Northshore School District (NSD) Board of Directors gave their formal approval March 10 for the sale of 18 acres of school property to the city of Bothell.

The property sits just west of State Route 527 and, as has been well-publicized, will become a key component in the plans of Bothell officials to revamp their downtown.

As previously announced, the purchase price was set at $20.6 million. The city is responsible for payment of the majority of that money — $18.7 million — in August 2011.

In a press release, officials for both sides said the delay in payment is designed to give school officials the opportunity to relocate district facilities now situated on the property, moves expected by August of next year.

“Simply and proudly put: this is a win-win for the people of Bothell and the children of the Northshore School District,” said Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb. “As the city celebrates its centennial this year, it’s most fitting that our city and public schools are displaying the same bold, cooperative and visionary spirit to grow and improve our community as our founders did 100 years ago.”

“We are happy to have worked with the city to support the needs of Bothell residents and businesses, as well as Northshore students,” said school Superintendent Larry Francois. “Our community will benefit because this agreement will provide funding for capital improvement projects that create jobs for the local economy.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will positively affect this community’s future for generations,” chimed in Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe.

The city and the schools put the property into play in 2007 when the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding over a possible sale.

According to Bothell Public Information Officer Joyce Goedeke, benefits of the sale to the city include:

• Preservation of the Anderson Building as a historic structure on Bothell Way Northeast.

• Providing a potential location for a public or joint public/private parking structure to serve the downtown, as well as possible future public amenities. Those amenities may or may not include a long-talked about aquatics center.

• Further acquisition of land needed for a multi-way boulevard along SR 527 and other street revisions that are part of the overall downtown plan as currently envisioned.

Besides the Anderson Building, other structures currently located on the property include the Northwest Pool and the school district’s transportation facility. By state law, the schools only can use proceeds from the sale for capital improvement projects, not day-to-day operating expenses.

District spokeswoman Susan Stoltzfus has said she expects sale money to augment a bond issue passed by district voters in 2006. Most immediately, those funds will go toward what she described as a new-and-improved transportation hub. The district also plans to relocate the Secondary Academy for Success, a specialized high-school program presently headquartered in the Anderson Building.

The district long has planned to move the school to a new spot in the Canyon Park Business Center. Officials have estimated the total price tag for the transportation and academy projects at about $45 million.

As for the Northwest Pool, Lamb said the property purchase will have no immediate effect on pool operations. He added that to his knowledge, the city still is studying some sort of aquatics center as a long-term solution to providing a swimming facility for the Northshore area.

The future of the Northshore Pool almost certainly is bound to attract some public attention with the recent closure of the Carole Ann Wald Memorial Pool in St. Edward Park in Kenmore.

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