ALAMEDA -- The question of whether or not the school district will buy the Marina Village building it now leases at 2060 Challenger Drive for its administrative staff has been answered.

No sale.

The purchase price tag would have been about $6.5 million. At the school board's recommendation, the district will continue its agreement with the property owner to continue to rent the space for the six-year lease at a cost of $3.2 million.

A handful of public attendees at the June 11 school board meeting advised trustees to nix the staff recommendation to buy the space that staff moved to after the old high school building they had been in was deemed seismically unsafe for occupancy. The proposal had brought public criticism in past meetings with people saying the district staff should be nearer the schools, rather than in a business park. They said the same at this week's meeting, also suggesting that expecting the community to consider a possible bond measure to repair and upgrade the old buildings while buying a new building for staff use would send the wrong message.


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Trustee Mike McMahon, who previously supported buying the building as a future asset, switched gears and said it's no longer a good time to buy, considering the possibility of a bond that could raise money to rehabilitate the two shuttered high school buildings.

McMahon introduced the idea of a bond measure at the board's last meeting. He suggested including repair or replacement of the two high school swimming pools, upgrades to Kofman Auditorium and possible upgrades to Encinal High School's theater be included in the measure's language. There has been discussion on when to aim for a measure, whether 2014 or 2016, but no action has been taken.

Restoration estimates range from $19 million to $30 million-plus, depending on the eventual proposed use of the buildings. District business chief Robert Shemwell said those figures could change greatly, even within the period of a year.

Seventeen other school sites also need upgrades, estimated overall at $92 million.

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