Everett schools approve sale of building to YMCA

EVERETT — The Everett school board has approved a plan to sell its former administration building to the YMCA of Snohomish County.

The board’s action on Tuesday was to allow Everett Public Schools to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement for the property, which includes two buildings on an 8-acre lot at 4730 Colby Ave.

The YMCA was one of six organizations proposing to buy the property, and one of three that Everett Public Schools negotiated with over the price.

The board voted 4-0 to move forward with the sale. Board vice president Ted Wenta, who works as vice president of operations for the YMCA, was not in attendance and had recused himself from previous discussions of the deal.

The YMCA is offering $3.33 million for the property, which will become the future site of the YMCA’s Everett facility.

“The site is large enough to accommodate pretty much everything we’d consider,” said Scott Washburn, CEO of the YMCA of Snohomish County.

The YMCA’s current facility in downtown Everett has 3,600 members, the smallest number of any of the facilities in Snohomish County.

The 100,000-square-foot current facility is also not used efficiently, with the upper stories of the century-old main building inaccessible to people with disabilities and largely used as storage space.

A new YMCA at the Colby property will be smaller, but would better serve the community and would likely drive a two- or three-fold increase in membership just by virtue of being a new and more modern facility, Washburn said.

The current plan would be to sell the downtown Everett property to help defray the cost of the new facility once the new YMCA opens. That’s likely to be several years from now because the YMCA has only just a general concept of what that new facility would be like, rather than a detailed plan, Washburn said.

Mike Gunn, the school district’s executive director of facilities and operations, said there are several steps in the sale process, including the drawing up of the final sale agreement, the legally required 45-day process of declaring the property surplus, a two-month feasibility period in which the YMCA evaluates the property, and then a two-month period to close the sale.

That puts closing nearly six months out. The school board will have to approve the final sale as well.

The school district has also tried to sell the historic Longfellow Building at 3715 Oakes Ave., but so far has not received a viable offer.

There have been a few further inquiries about the century-old building, but most conversations get hung up on the district’s need to maintain access to parking on the site for athletic events, Gunn said.

“What we really do need there is the parking,” Gunn said. “What we don’t need there is the building.”

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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