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Vote to amend PEAK lease is today

The Mercer Island School District Board of Directors conditionally approved the first amendment to the PEAK lease during last Thursday’s meeting.

The amendment gives the Boys & Girls Club of King County the ability to obtain a construction loan from US Bank to pay for construction costs during the project’s completion.

The Board said it would be generally supportive of the amendment and would be extremely likely to approve it, if a couple of small changes were made to the wording of both the loan and the amendment documents.

The board wanted to include language which makes clear that funds for the project never exceed the construction costs or loan amount. The second addition is to make sure that pledges paid to the club are immediately deposited to repay the loan.

The district’s attorney, Denise Stiffarm, clarified that the amount available to the club for the loan is only money which has been included in the club’s budget for PEAK. Essentially, the club will submit invoices to the bank for the construction costs and will pay down the loan as pledges are received.

The board scheduled a special meeting for Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the Board Room in order to officially approve the agreement, assuming that the changes were made by that time. Superintendent Gary Plano said he was concerned — if the board waited until the next regular meeting on Nov. 18 — that the project may have to stop work.

“We understand that everyone started out with the best of intentions,” said board member Lisa Strauch Eggers. “I think the Boys & Girls Club has done a lot of work to get this approved, but the problem arises when you have to go to the bank. We’ve worked to mitigate those worse-case scenarios.”

Board member John DeVleming said he wanted to see the project move forward, and despite this setback, was excited.

“This is a $15 million gift to the children of our Island,” he said.

A full copy of the updated PEAK amendment between MISD and the Boys & Girls Club can be found at: www.misd.k12.wa.us/news/frontpage/peak_amendment.html.

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