Evan Thompson / The Record — Gail LaVassar, the South Whidbey School District’s community liaison for the Readiness To Learn Foundation spoke about the future of rentable rooms at Langley Middle School at a South Whidbey School Board workshop meeting on Wednesday night.

School district releases LMS rental rates

The price tags for rentable rooms at Langley Middle School have been announced.

Twenty-nine rooms are available for rent at the middle school, and range in prices between $65-$1,222 per month depending on the size of the room. Tenants will also pay for utilities and electricity. Room costs and objectives for the school were outlined during a South Whidbey School Board workshop on Wednesday night, and in a six-page handout titled, “Langley Community Center.”

The South Whidbey School District is currently fielding a slew of applications for the rooms from local organizations, clubs, businesses and nonprofits. District administrators will select the tenants sometime later this month or in early October based on the applicant’s ability to pay monthly rent and utility fees, its perceived values, mission and how the applicant fits into the overall context of the community center.

Keeping the rooms filled will be the responsibility of Gail LaVassar, a familiar face in the district. She’s currently the executive director of the Readiness to Learn Foundation — a non-profit organization that supports schools. She’s already a district employee, paid as a “community liaison” for the foundation.

LaVassar took on the extra duties without an agreed amount of pay, according to district Superintendent Jo Moccia.

“Gail’s position is to create community partnerships with the schools and at this point it’s still manageable,” Moccia wrote in an email to The Record. “As the Community Center comes to fruition with tenants and we have income these decisions will be made and paid for by the revenue generated by The Center.”

Moccia introduced the new role during Wednesday’s meeting, saying LaVassar would likely handle the “logistics” of the rental process. LaVassar said Friday that wasn’t her understanding of the position, that her job was solely to create partnerships. It’s still early in the process, she said, and many details are still being hammered out.

LaVassar said the idea is to create a “connecting community that honors diversity, respects history and offers learning activities responsive to local evolving needs and talents.” The center is intended to offer educational opportunities and support student learning through skill-building extracurricular activities, while also providing a centralized location for people to work and organize together “for the benefit of the community.”

“We’re trying to not be a property rental,” LaVassar said. “It’s about who’s a good fit with each other.”

The rental rates are 65 cents per square foot and were set to be competitive with the market value, Moccia said. Seventeen of the rooms are between 782-961 square feet and cost $508-$624. Ten “small size” rooms measure between 150 to 250 square feet and cost between $65 to $234.

The campus’s two most expensive rooms are also the biggest in size, measuring at 1,736 square feet and 1,880 square feet. The rooms cost $1,128 and $1,222 per month, respectively.

Added up, renting out all 29 rooms and with maximum utilities paid, the South Whidbey School District would take in $175,392 per year, according to the Record’s calculation. Moccia wrote an email Thursday that it is “in line” with the district’s gross revenue projections.

The district continues to incur costs of operating certain parts of the campus. This includes the multi-purpose room and main gymnasium, which are used by the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District and district sports teams, respectively, according to Maintenance Director Brian Miller. The parks district uses the multi-purpose room for sports activities, but does not pay rent or utilities because of an “interlocal agreement,” Parks Director Doug Coutts said; the school district uses the parks district’s sports complex fields.

LaVassar said the direction of the community center was determined through a public survey administered by the district in August. Results from the census showed people valued the campus being used for the betterment of students, as well as a centralized location for a wide range of activities such as yoga, natural programs, gaming and mentoring.

LaVassar said there are about 25 proposals in the works, some of which were made through a proposal packet while others were through verbal interactions. Not all of the proposals LaVassar has received will work in the context of the center, such as a business office or storage space.

The proposal packet asks interested parties to describe their business, organization or creative talent, whether their goals are aligned with the vision of the community center and provide financial documentation of an ability to pay rent and utilities.

There are a few tenants already renting space at the middle school, including Island Dance, the Island County Historical Society, the Whidbey Children’s Theater and South Island CrossFit; South Island CrossFit just rented the campus’s “Cooler” gymnasium with a monthly lease.

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