Delay in deciding BGC proposal reasonable

The 60 days that the Mercer Island School Board is taking to decide whether it should participate in a $14 million multi-use youth and athletic facility seems reasonable, especially considering what is at stake.

The Boys & Girls Club is proposing to build the 28,000-square-foot facility, along with classrooms and a teen center, at the school district's North Mercer campus.

The project is a convergence of needs and ideas, and is a wonderful opportunity. It would bring the club closer to a more central location, more classroom space for the high school and more recreation facilities for an active Island population both young and old.

However, there are still many issues that need to be resolved with all of the stakeholders, which include the school district and City of Mercer Island, from both of which the proposal's organizers are seeking financial support.

The 60-day period will be used for more definitive design and cost estimates before the School Board votes whether to proceed. If the board supports moving forward with the plan in April, the facility would open in the fall of 2007 instead of 2006.

The delay in the decision also allows more time to build consensus among all of the parties involved. We don't want a hasty decision that the community might regret later, especially on something this large that will have long-lasting ramifications.

Though the plan has some detractors, such as the preschool concerned about the potential loss of some play space, the project seems to have widespread appeal.

The proposal will be that much better by taking the time to answer any lingering questions the parties may have before a final decision is made. If it works, it is a long-term win-win for the entire community.

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