Evan Smith: Feeling skeptical about the School-Museum settlement

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Commentary/ Evan Smith

Am I the only person in Shoreline or Lake Forest Park not leaping with joy over the agreement between the Shoreline School District and the Shoreline Historical Museum?

The agreement, after all, allows the Museum to keep its home in the old Ronald School building near a rebuilt Shorewood High School under a proposed bond issue.

I had heard a week ago that the Museum might buy land near Shorewood and trade it to the School District for the land that the Museum building sits on.

By comparison, the final settlement makes me nervous.

I’m nervous because the agreement involves moving the 98-year-old Ronald building, a move that will be both costly and risky.

People close to the situation tell me that the estimated cost to the School District for moving the building is $1.5 million, money that the District could better use for education.

The risk is great. Movers deal well with wood-frame houses like the old building that the University of Washington moved last year or the one-and two-story houses moved from land needed for hospital expansion in North Everett. Can we find someone who can move a 98-year-old brick building with a stone foundation that seems to be embedded in the earth?

I fear the Museum’s turning to a pile of bricks that block 185th Street and delay construction of the High School.

I have to trust that people of good will have reached a workable solution. I want them to convince me that moving the Museum is better than leaving it alone and expanding the School onto land that the Museum buys and trades to the School District.

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