A week ago tonight, we brought you word of a milestone in the Fauntleroy Community Service Agency‘s negotiations to purchase the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, agreement on a “term sheet.” Last night, two FCSA reps joined the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s monthly meeting, at the schoolhouse, for an informal presentation about the latest developments, and Q/A. Read on for the newest information, including school board action expected tonight, plus a statement on the latest developments from the Fauntleroy Children’s Center director Kim Sheridan, which we received just before last night’s FCA meeting:
First: Sherry Lehmann and Jennifer Beard from the FCSA talked with the FCA board last night, and noted that the Seattle School Board has the proposed purchase agreement on its agenda last night. (See the agenda here.) Their actual vote on the agreement is expected next month. Here’s the terminology in the school district memo (which you can read in its entirety here):
The offer is for a portion of the site, consisting of the building and the area immediately surrounding it, the parking lot located on the lower terrace, and 10,000 square feet in the existing playground area. The remainder of the site will be retained by the District for future development, and is currently zoned single family residential. The District and FCSA have agreed to discuss an option for FCSA to acquire additional space for playground use, and to discuss the possibility of joint efforts to develop the remainder of the site. However, those discussions are in very early stages and the current proposal to purchase the building, parking lot and minimum playground space is not contingent on reaching agreement on future development.
The proposed transaction also includes a provision, similar to those for other recent property sales, that FCSA will not redevelop the area being purchased (except the playground) for 40 years unless a value sharing payment is made to the District.
At last night’s meeting, FCA board members’ questions centered on what would become of that area not included in the purchase; Phil Sweetland then suggested that early next year, the FCA and FCSA have a joint community meeting to discuss how to pursue that part of the site. Sweetland and Gary Dawson also suggested some expert advice be pursued on how to proceed with that, since the FCSA will not wind up with a formal first right of refusal on that land.
Meantime, earlier yesterday, we received a statement about the purchase agreement from Kim Sheridan, who runs the Fauntleroy Children’s Center, major tenant of the schoolhouse, following other community reaction last week. We wanted to share her statement in its entirety:
In response to some of the concerns shared I want to respond to our friends and supporters in the community. I do not think The Fauntleroy Community Service Agency, our Board of Directors, would do anything that would jeopardize the community or place it in dire straits; however, I certainly understand the hope that the entire school property would be part of this purchase agreement and a “done deal”. Every time I look at the school playground I think, we are not finished yet, just moving in the right direction. This is a fantastic first step!
You are right that this is good news for the Children’s Center. We have great cause to celebrate. Our 120 families are breathing a huge sigh of relief to know that their child care situation is secure. All 31 of the teachers and 4 support and administrative staff are greatly relieved to know we will continue to have the opportunity to serve families in our community and to have jobs here.
I know that Miss Kim from Seattle Civic Dance Theatre is delighted to know the Fauntleroy School will still be the home of her dance school. I assume the families she serves also feel relieved.
Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes is another huge asset to the community. They are also very happy to know the school building will remain home to their business. I can’t imagine how many people, including staff and clients, are positively impacted by their ability to remain here.
I think with all of the craziness, sadness and fear going on in the world these days, this progress on the school purchase is really something about which to be grateful and excited. I know we are by no means finished with this project! There is an incredible amount of work that this beautiful building needs and yes, we also want to raise money to buy the rest of the playground and property. To get to this point, it has taken an incredible amount of work and negotiation on the part of our Board, all volunteers who are members of this community.
I don’t see this step as dire news for the community. I see it as evidence of the great things this community can and does accomplish. It may be a slow, discouraging process at times, but it is just that, a process, and I am confident more hard work will follow and more good things will come. I hope as time goes on you will feel better about this step as an accomplishment for our community. See you at the Fall Festival!
Fauntleroy Children’s Center
The Fall Festival, at the schoolhouse, the Y, and Fauntleroy Church, is this Sunday, 2-6 pm, and we’ll have more details on that coming up in a report on what else happened at the FCA meeting last night. The schoolhouse purchase, as reported last week, is expected to close by August of next year.