How can I have a say in and be in touch about the district’s property management process?
There are a couple of ways to keep in touch:
1. Bookmark the district’s Property Management website for documents and information about properties and the process. Over time, new information will appear on that site.
2. Sign up for the district’s InTouch newsletter and join the “Land Use” interest groups to get email updates as they are available.
What properties does the district own besides schools?
The district owns facilities for school buses and maintenance and custodial services – just as many other school districts own those types of support facilities. The district also owns properties needed for future schools and some properties too small for traditional schools that are now used by neighborhood residents as parks and playfields.
Our district is somewhat unique in that it owns a baseball field that is used by a professional minor league baseball team, the Everett AquaSox, Everett Community College and other teams. The baseball facility and other fields at Everett Memorial Stadium form an athletics complex that our high schools use for competitions and practices
You can see the full list of district owned properties on the Property Use Matrix online.
The district owns land that neighborhoods are using as parks? How did that come about, and why does a school district have land used that way?
Doyle Park’s 1.5 acres in the city of Everett was once a family garden donated to the district in 1951 to be used for what was then South Junior High School (and is now Sequoia High School) playground. Since 1984, the city of Everett has maintained that small, neighborhood “pocket park” as part of the city park system. Although citizens have requested the property be donated to the city or the neighborhood as a park, state law does not allow a school district to donate public property – even to another civic entity.
Norton Playfield is sometimes assumed to be a city playfield. The district has owned the playfield’s 2.96 acres for more than a century. In 1893 the district began buying patchwork pieces of the playfield land which became the site of the old Jackson Elementary school, built in 1902. The old Jackson Elementary was demolished in the mid-1950s. The new, relocated Jackson Elementary School left the original playfield site without a school. Norton Playfield is a district-maintained playfield today.
What is a Property Use Framework?
The Framework establishes the philosophy for making district property use decisions. Potential property uses are measured against the board-established Framework to ensure those decisions align with the district’s intent.
What is a Property Use Matrix?
The Property Use Matrix approved by the board in 2013 details every district-owned location and lists short- and long-term options for using each of those properties. The Matrix is a board-approved document.
How often does the district adjust how it uses properties?
Not very often. The most common property use change happens when a new school is built on land the district owns. Then the use of the property changes from vacant land to a school site.
How long has the district owned the Longfellow and Colby properties?
The Longfellow building was once a district elementary school and is more than 100 years old.
The district bought the Colby Educational Service Center land in 1946. In 1964, the district built the office there. Although the office building looks like an old, one-story school building, the district has never had a school on that site.
The Longfellow building has been used as an office since the early 1970’s. The building was originally designed as an elementary school in the days before modern building code requirements for seismic and fire safety, elevators, and energy efficient heating systems and windows. Longfellow was converted to office space for adults without modern upgrades.
Does the district ever sell properties? If so, what happens to the money?
The district does not sell property very often.
The last time the district sold property was in 1998. That was a single family residence no longer needed by the district. The district once used the house for an early childhood center.
Funds that come from property sales (or from money earned through district leases of property) must all go to the capital projects fund or to pay off bond debt. With very few exceptions, capital project funds must be used to build or do major work on school facilities.
If the district does sell any property, can that money go to make class sizes smaller?
Capital fund money can be used to build new classrooms, but it cannot be used to hire more teachers to lower class size. With very few exceptions, capital project funds must be used to build or do major work on school facilities.
Wasn’t the district thinking about selling properties a few years ago to help pay for the Community Resource Center (CRC)?
Yes. Before the economic downturn of 2008, when property values plummeted, that was the plan. The entire CRC project was put on hold in 2008 because it seemed unwise to sell district property when the market was so low.
At the same time property values went down, the price of construction also went down. During the economic downturn, with construction prices much lower, the district was able to remodel three elementary schools (Jefferson, Monroe and View Ridge) much more extensively than would have been possible before the 2008 recession or today. Once those projects were complete, the district took advantage of those lower construction prices to build the CRC.
If the board were to sell any property today, at today’s increased prices, the money from those sales would go into the capital fund to replenish some of the costs of the CRC – just as several school boards planned for more than two decades.
If a decision is made to demolish the Longfellow building and convert to parking, how would that be implemented?
The district would obtain bids for the demolition of the buildings and construction of a new parking lot and award a contract to the lowest responsible bidder. This process would require a demolition permit from the city of Everett, an environmental review under the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), and documentation required by the state Department of Historic Preservation.
What are the Colby and Longfellow properties worth?
Property values fluctuate over time. The true market value of any property is set when that property sells on the open market to the highest bidder.
The most recent estimate of the fair market value of the Colby property, gathered in spring 2014 is between $2.2 and $3.95 million. The most recent estimate for the Longfellow Building and Annex plus related site areas, gathered in spring 2014 is approximately $2.04 million.
What would it cost to renovate the Longfellow Building?
The cost of bringing the building up to current safety, seismic and accessibility codes, plus other upgrades allowing it to be used for the next 20 years, is approximately $7.8 million. The additional cost of maintenance and operations during that time is approximately $4.6 million.
Can a school district sell properties for a price lower than the appraised value?
The school district must follow state law which regulates how public entities sell publicly owned property. The law specifies that the district must be paid at least 90 percent of the appraised value. If the property is on the market for longer than a year, that amount can be reduced to 75 percent of the appraised value.
Can the district donate properties to other public entities?
The same law referred to in the question above prohibits the district from giving away public property.
Was any of the land for these two properties donated?
The district purchased both properties, and no land was donated.
Why is there consideration of turning the Longfellow property into a parking lot?
The cost of maintaining a 100-year old obsolete building is high. A parking lot at that location would be used each day by students and others accessing the stadium facilities. During these events, it would add to the limited parking available for attendees. The Community Resource Center is heavily used for district and community activities; the Longfellow location would be overflow parking during those large events. The district uses this parking lot for small school buses and vans used for transportation, and with student enrollment growth projected to increase, the need for such parking will also increase.
Is the Longfellow Building on the national registry of historic buildings?
The Longfellow Building is not on the national or local registry of historic buildings. Longfellow is listed on the city's historic property survey. The district will coordinate any proposed redevelopment of the Longfellow building site with the city and the Washington Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.
Might the district have a need for these two buildings in the future?
It is unlikely the district would need these buildings in the future. The costs of upgrading these and the high costs of ongoing mainteance and operations would be prohibitive. The district's capital funds are limited - particularly so after the 2014 capital bond failure. These two buildings are a current drain on operational funds and each building has a potential for generating capital dollars.