The Seattle School District has taken another step towards selling the abandoned Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary property in Madison Valley to First AME church. As we reported last month, the board’s finance committee was in agreement with the district administration’s recommendation that the building and property be sold to the church, spurning competing offers from the Madison Valley community, CADA, and the Bush School.
First AME won out after the district’s analysis showed that their planned programs and low rental rates for space would provide the largest total value to the community.
That recommendation was presented to the full school board for the first time last week, and the district has posted a draft purchase agreement that would hand over the property to First AME for $2.4 million. The majority of those funds will come from the State of Washington, which has allocated a pool of money for community service organizations to acquire vacant school facilities.
According to a memo given to the board, the proposed sale matches with board policy that gives preference to community groups for school acquisitions, even if they aren’t the highest bidder for a property. That was applicable in this case since the Bush School’s bid had a total value of $5.6 million, significantly higher than First AME’s proposal.
The final step in the process is coming next week on October 20th, when the sale will come up for a vote among the entire board. But at this stage, that would appear to be a formality given the unanimous support of the finance subcommittee and the district administration for the First AME sale.
First AME plans to use the building for expanded youth activities, education, parent training, veterans services, and licensed daycare programs. Other space in the building will be available for lease by other community organizations.