Chehalis School Board Gives Staff Signing Power to Execute Sale of Former Elementary Buildings

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The sale of two former Chehalis School District elementary buildings appears near.

At a Tuesday morning meeting, school board members voted unanimously to pass a request to “authorize the sale of R.E. Bennett and Cascade elementary schools and authorize the superintendent and director of business and operations to close the sale, including signature of related documents.”

The district is asking an appraised price of $2.5 million for both schools, $1.5 million for R.E. Bennett and $1 million for Cascade, said Director of Business and Operations Heather Pinkerton, though negotiations are still underway with an unnamed buyer who has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing both properties.

“Currently, there’s an offer on the table where the buyer would buy both,” Pinkerton said.

The board’s action allows for district staff to sign off on the sale when both parties come to an agreement, Assistant Superintendent Brian Fox said. While the sale price and new owner will eventually be announced, it’s unlikely the district will come back to the board for further approval.

The school district has been considering the sale of the two 1920s-era structures for many months now.

In May, district leadership announced that they had entered into a feasibility study in March to consider a possible sale to a single buyer.

Tuesday’s action marked the first public, pen-to-paper development on the project.

Both elementary schools are located on adjoining parcels that take up about 5.32 acres of land in Chehalis’ downtown area, between Market Boulevard and Cascade Avenue.

Both schools became obsolete after the school constructed Orin C. Smith and James W. Lintott elementaries, which were both funded through a bond initiative passed in 2015.

Because the two old schools have been on the market for at least a year, the district is required under Washington state law to only sell them for a price of 75% of their appraised value or higher.

Pinkerton said the district’s packaged minimum for the two schools under that law is $1.875 million.

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