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Sale of old school needs to happen soon



The eventual degradation of an empty building is nothing new, totally expected. Which is why leadership at the Grand Coulee Dam School District and an economic development committee of the chamber of commerce began working, before the new Lake Roosevelt Schools building was completed, on a transition plan for Center School.

Like many other aspects of this community, it was complicated. The building and property were not owned by the school district; it had been provisionally deeded to the district decades ago, but only so long as it remained a school. When the district determined it would have no need for the building, it was certain to revert to private ownership by a company that had no use for it.

The ownership transfer eventually happened, but a sky-high valuation by the county would have meant an annual tax bill of tens of thousands of dollars, too much for anyone interested in trying to develop the building under a different use.

That hurdle was passed last spring, with a more reasonable assessment set, so the stage would now seem to be set for a successful sale — to somebody, not a moment too soon.

Having suffered vandalism again in its third break-in since 2014, the building will not grow more valuable with time. The school district needs to make the transfer into private hands a priority while it still can.

Otherwise the possibility is all too real that it could end up being exactly what the district and community leaders were trying to avoid years ago — a public blight.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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