MONROE — As Monroe school leaders weigh upgrading district buildings, the future of the city’s oldest schoolhouse hangs in the balance.
The Monroe School Board will meet Monday in closed-door executive session to discuss the potential purchase or lease of a new administrative office. If leaders decide to move, the current headquarters would be sold.
Board directors are considering signing a 20-year lease for a former medical office on 179th Avenue SE, across from the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.
The building offers 31,000 square feet, which is more than the district says it needs. Excess space would be subleased or used for other school programs.
Administrators have operated out of an old schoolhouse for the last 42 years. The building is in need of repair and maintenance is becoming more difficult, a district spokeswoman said.
The Howard S. Wright Company, which also built the Space Needle and monorail as the primary builder for the 1962 World’s Fair, constructed the schoolhouse in 1916, Tami Kinney from the Monroe Historical Society said.
The Central Grade School, as it was known, housed 12 classrooms and eight grades of students. Back in those days, boys and girls were separated in the seventh and eighth grades. The only other school building on the society’s historic register is Frank Wagner Elementary.
“We hope when the school district sells this building, it will be preserved and used for a purpose that maintains its integrity,” Kinney said. “It is just as important to look back at our history as it is to embrace new development.”
Kinney said she hopes a new owner would develop the building into apartments, an events center, farmers market location or retail complex, something similar to Interlake Public School in Wallingford.
The district would pay about $57,000 a month for the first three years of the 20-year lease on its new space.
During the first seven years of the agreement, the board could opt to buy the land for $10.5 million. From year seven to 10, the price is $11 million.