Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vallejo school district to call M.I. building home

July 21, 2006

Vallejo school district to call M.I. building home

By SARAH ROHRS, Times-Herald staff writer

The phones aren't ringing and the desks haven't arrived, but a Mare Island barracks building is quickly becoming the future home of the Vallejo school district's administrative office.

The once empty, cavernous Walnut Avenue building now has walls, wiring and other improvements for offices, conference rooms, plus storage areas and rooms for training and workshops.

One corner of the former Naval building will be where Vallejo school board meetings will be held.

A jail cell, where wayward ship workers once awaited their punishment, is being preserved to display photographs and memorabilia.

Construction pace has quickened over the summer to meet a Nov. 18 move-in date.

Even if the building is unfinished, a large fleet of desks, computers, filing cabinets and other items will be moved from the district's current Valle Vista headquarters, district adviser Floyd Gonella said.

The current district office must be vacated because the buildings and land will soon be put up for public bid, Gonella said. The district estimates the sale could bring in between $10 million and $12 million to help pay off the $60 million state bail-out loan.

"We've gotten a lot of interest. I've gotten calls from all over the western United States on the property," Gonella said.

Finding a user for a 4,200-square foot section of the second floor is also underway. The district intends to lease out the space and use the proceeds to pay for utilities and other costs associated with running the new district office.

Gonella said the Mare Island marketing firm of CBRE will be showing the space to Realtors and potential users this week.

To make the Mare Island move possible, Lennar Mare Island paid the district $6 million in school fees. Then $4.3 million of that was spent to buy and renovate the building.

An additional $2.6 million will also be spent, $1.7 million will come from Measure A school bond money, and $900,000 will come in after the existing district office property is sold.

The Mare Island building will contain administrative offices, plus space for student services, instructional services, professional development, student health services and the student nutrition division.

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