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PEAK gains final MISD approval

The Mercer Island School District gave the Boys & Girls Club of King County final approval for the PEAK project during last Thursday’s meeting. The vote to approve was unanimous.

As of April 9, the Boys & Girls Club had raised $8.2 million in pledges and had received $4.6 million in the bank toward the construction of the PEAK project. The club has a total of $6.6 million in cash for the final cost. It will also receive $1 million from both the city of Mercer Island and the Mercer Island School District, as well as $4.5 million from the sale of the current MI Boys & Girls club building toward the overall amount needed. The estimated cost of construction, still in negotiation with a general contractor, is $9.6 million. The total project costs are estimated to be $14.6 million.

The club is currently working on finalizing with Bayley Construction, an Island company which is donating part of its services for construction of the project. Representatives from the Boys & Girls Club said the permitting process with the city is moving forward. The project’s site permit is likely to be approved in the next three weeks and the main building permit is in the final comments portion of the process. The Boys & Girls Club hopes to have the final building permit approved by the city in approximately four to five weeks.

This pushes the beginning of construction back further than what was originally planned, a change which will likely work in the project’s favor. Due to the downturn in the economy, prices have fallen for construction, and because of the later start, crews will have fewer weather issues as construction will begin during the nicest part of the year.

“We really couldn’t have hit a couple of things better,” said Sid Kitchings, the owner’s representative for WS Kitchings Construction Management Services. “It’s turning out to be fortuitous.”

Boys & Girls Club CEO Daniel Johnson reassured the School Board and members of the community that the project has enough money to meet the hard and soft costs. He said U.S. Bank is financing the project, the same lender used for the Boys & Girls Club Rainier Vista project last year.

“We see them as a partner,” he said. “We feel very confident in working with them.”

As part of securing the loan, Johnson and his team spoke with 25 donors, all of whom confirmed their pledges, with three increasing donations.

“We are thrilled to be at this place in fundraising and encouraged by the enthusiasm of our donors as we sit down with them to confirm their pledges,” said Johnson. “The fact that three donors actually increased their pledges says a great deal about the excitement to finally get the facility built.”

He said if something should happen, the club does have real estate assets it can use as collateral. However, fundraising will continue through the project’s construction, raising money for operating costs. Johnson said if a donor dropped out, it would be possible to use funding raised for operating costs to help with construction costs.

“The building will be built no matter what,” Johnson said. “The bank ensures that.”

The board commended the Boys & Girls Club for its work and expressed excitement for the upcoming opportunities.

“This is going to be a wonderful contribution to this community for years to come,” said Board member John DeVleming. Adair Dingle said that though she was originally on the fence four years ago when the project began, she had changed her mind, believing that the project would be a good addition to the area.

“I’m excited to think we’ll have this facility to pick up some of those options, if we have to cut programs,” said Pat Braman about the possibility of the district losing programs due to budget cuts. “I’m pleased we’ll have this option.”

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