UPDATE: School District Seeks to Buy Redeemer Lutheran Church, Stevenson Property in Land Deal

The Mercer Island School Board approved the land deal for over seven acres of land for a new Island Park Elementary School, and also approved participation in the Voters' Pamphlet, reversing an earlier decision.

Update, Friday, March 2, 11:15 a.m.:

Interim Pastor Gene Baade responded to this story by emailing his reaction. The following is an unedited email sent to Mercer Island Patch:

"The story seems to me to imply that Redeemer is an active party to negotiating a price.  It suggests that Redeemer has made an agreement, formally or tacitly, to sell if the price is right.    That is not correct.   We have not done so (made any agreement to sell), nor are we negotiating with MISD for a “fair market price.”  The school district may be stating its position in the resolution, but it does not reflect Redeemer’s position, past or present, at all.  That resolution statement was not crafted by Redeemer, and it does not appear to have in mind Redeemer’s interests as a constituted local community of faith within a national church body.

Thank you,

Pastor Baade, Interim Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church"


Original: Moving forward on school bond plans to acquire more real estate for a growing student population, the Mercer Island School Board approved unanimously the purchase of two parcels of land to serve as the new home of at a March 1 special meeting.

The real estate deal involves two properties just south of : The  Church, which is still under negotiation for a "fair market price" and the , agreed to in principle for $5.95 million. The was the home to the last family-run horse barn on Mercer Island until early last year (the is a cooperative horse barn). 

The land deal is contingent on the purchase of both properties.

Superintendent Gary Plano told the board that the property would be used as the new home of Island Park Elementary School, giving the school district the option of using the current building as a swing school while rebuilding the other district schools as planned on April's Special Election ballot.

The school board also voted unanimously to reverse their decision to in the King County Elections Voters' Pamphlet at a cost of $3,000, and have appointed pro and con committees. They must submit their statements by March 2 and rebuttals by March 5 to King County Elections in order to be included in the voters' guide.

The Mercer Island School District issued the following press release immediately following the conclusion of the meeting:

The Mercer Island School District’s Board of Directors voted on March 1, 2012 to authorize School Superintendent, Dr. Gary Plano, to sign a contract to purchase land known as Stevenson Property and to continue negotiations with the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Mercer Island for their property.

Both parcels will relocate Island Park Elementary School to provide for better school placement and to improve traffic flow on Island Crest Way.  This relocation will also enable the 'old' Island Park building to potentially be used as a swing school, enabling some student offloading during construction of the remaining three schools.

This is a rare opportunity to purchase a large Mercer Island property, which is needed for future planning flexibility since the district does not have sufficient land today.  Once Island Park is re-sited and construction completed on the remaining schools, the 'old' Island Park site can be repurposed for district use for a variety of purposes to be determined with public input at that time.

The school district’s purchase of these properties addresses a critical need for additional land, that was confirmed by the 21st Century Facilities Planning Committee. This land purchase increases the public use of property on Mercer Island.

This is a Breaking News Story. Mercer Island Patch will post more information as it becomes available.

(Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story's headline misstated that the Redeemer Lutheran Church property was purchased. The MISD is still in negotiations for a final sale price. The name of church was also out of order and has since been corrected. Mercer Island Patch regrets the errors.)

Ira B. Appelman March 15, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Kelsay stands by her false comments that I am circulating a flyer, which I have not; I first saw the flyer on her blog. I am fully aware that when you disagree with the so-called "leaders," they slime you to their friends and acquaintances; Kelsay is willing to publicly question my "ethics" (for not doing what she says I've done: circulate a flyer). So let's review what I did do: I attended a Thursday School Board meeting where Superintendent Plano announced a tentative purchase of the Stevenson property WHICH HE CLAIMED WOULD IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW ON ISLAND CREST WAY. The following Monday I made a public records request broadly directed at any records whatsoever the District had on traffic flow or improved traffic flow related to the project to move Island Park Elementary to the Stevenson property. The District responded quickly, providing two pieces of paper by the end of the week (Friday). I have posted both pages above. The slide (photo) shows that traffic will be reduced on Island Crest Way by routing traffic into the sleepy neighborhood to the west via SE 62nd Street, which is what Dr. Plano implied when he first announed the Stevenson purchase. This is what Kelsay claims on her blog is a "lie" and something the "district would never consider." In judging my "ethics," I ask Islanders to consider that I received the WA Coalition for Open Government's Key Award for using the Public Records Act to make records publicly available, as by posting them above.
Trevor Hart March 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
For those concerned that contributers and developers of websites have not listed their names - we have done so. The Executive Committee for www.not-mi-school-tear-down.com now have their names listed at the bottom of each page of the website.
Blair Destro March 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I meant to say Robert Brown, both of you guys have provided invaluable information unseen by those focusing on the Yes side only.
Claus Jensen March 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Trevor, Web address is mistyped. Should be www.no-mi-school-tear-down.com
Candace Scarcello Dempsey March 18, 2012 at 09:31 AM
I live in the Stevenson/Island Crest Way neighborhood. We are not pawns. We are horrified that MISD decided to site a school literally in our backyards without consulting us. The Redeemer/Stevenson parcel is too small even to allow a buffer zone. Since MISD already has a beautiful school at Island Park Elementary, only a short distance away, this is a disastrous mistake and needless sacrifice. By all means, build a new school at the same site. That would be logical. So would putting an additional school in the north end, where the growth is. There is no need to wreck a beautiful neighborhood and increase traffic congestion. And, please, don't ask us to pay for it.


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