School district buys land from BIFD

(A correction was made to identify the correct tax.)

The Bainbridge Island School District approved a measure at its board meeting Dec. 9 to buy one-third acre of land near Wilkes Elementary School.

The $90,000 was made available through the 2009 capital bond, which allows the district to purchase land for projects.

The land, which contains a small building, was recently declared a surplus by the Bainbridge Island Fire Department. The building was used for vehicle storage after the Phelps Road fire station was built in 1996.

The land will be used for the development of the new Wilkes school. Tamela VanWinkle, the director of facilities and capital projects for the school district, said the land will be used to improve traffic safety by increasing bus driver sight lines and the visibility of other drivers as they drive on Day Road East. The entrance for the bus pickup and dropoff will be a few feet from where the storage building sits.

“We had a couple of discussions and community meetings and one of the persistent comments was the safety of accessing the site,” VanWinkle said.

A traffic study presented at the school board meeting also pointed out the need for the land purchase to improve sight lines for drivers.

Another reason the district purchased the land is the site is a better spot for the school drainage field.

“When we started to evaluate the purchase further, we recognized there are a lot of undisturbed soils on that site,” VanWinkle said. “We believe it’s going to be cost-neutral because instead of us importing and exporting soils for our septic drain field, we have an opportunity to use a great deal of that for our primary and reserve drain fields.”

Van Winkle expects the paperwork to be finalized for the purchase in January.

The design team will be working on the construction documents over the next few months, with the goal of going to bid for the project in April.

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