School district to buy Boys and Girls Club building, transform it to school

The Peninsula School District intends to buy the Boys and Girls Club on Skansie Avenue (seen here in 2017) and transform it into an elementary school if the proposed bond measure passes.
The Peninsula School District intends to buy the Boys and Girls Club on Skansie Avenue (seen here in 2017) and transform it into an elementary school if the proposed bond measure passes. Gateway file photo

The Peninsula School District intends to purchase the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound building for $12.8 million.

The purchase is contingent on the district’s proposed $198 million bond passing later this month. Money from the bond would pay for two new elementary schools and a remodel of Artondale and Evergreen elementaries.

The Boys and Girls Club site at 8502 Skansie Ave. would be used for one of the new elementary schools.

“It’s cost-effective and a good deal for the school district in multiple ways, and I’m pleased as can be. Our reaction from the community is also gratifying, as I think people see it as an excellent building,” Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis told the Gateway recently.

Right now 66 portables are being used at the elementary level.

Jarvis said the site is already compatible for school purposes.

“It has nine classrooms, gymnasiums, offices, food services, storage. In some ways it’s starting with half a school already built. That fit our needs wonderfully because we need to build school No. 10, and we are purchasing a site that isn’t just usable, but excellent,” Jarvis said.

The school district was going to use the Bujacich site, a location already owned by the district, but that site is located outside the Pierce County Growth Management Plan. Permitting for a school there would be difficult.

The Bujacich site also does not have utilities such as sewer or septic.

“Those two issues really combined to say, while we own that site, it is not the site we can build school No. 10 on in a timely and cost-efficient manner,” Jarvis said.

With the Boys and Girls Club building already compatible for a school, the district has the opportunity to get an additional school up and running much faste, Jarvis said.

He said the district’s intent is to add at least 20 classrooms to the Boys and Girls club site.

“If we can add that many classrooms instead of building a school with 30 classrooms, there will be some savings regarding that,” Jarvis said.

Although the Boys and Girls Club is selling the building, the organization wants to remain involved in the Gig Harbor community. Jarvis said the district would prepare an agreement with the Boys and Girls Club on how to frame the relationship moving forward.

“It will cover how they will use the building, giving them a storage room to keep their stuff and which rooms they can use and when,” Jarvis said. “(Their relationship with us) is not site specific. We have needs for after-school programs, so we will help them at any school to provide services.”

The Boys and Girls Club issued a press release about the proposed sale.

“We are continuously looking for opportunities to partner with other organizations to create synergy and efficiencies in serving the community,” according to the release. “This opportunity will allow us to put our resources into direct services and programs for our kids. It will also provide PSD much needed immediate classroom spaces for the fall of 2019.”

It explained the current after-school programs will not be impacted at this time.

The school district’s proposed bond measure needs a supermajority to pass, that being 60 percent of the votes. The previous bond issue failed by a few hundred votes, falling just shy of the 60 percent mark.