Heating and Cooling System Updates Are Next on Our List
Greetings in this very strange season!
We are writing to you for input on the future of the Community Center.
Having completed other key elements of our five-year strategic plan—including audio and lighting improvements in the gym, achieving our 501(c)(3) status, and renewing our building lease with the School District—we are moving on to consider probably our biggest challenge to date: the inevitable replacement of the oil-burning furnace, “Bertha,” to make all areas of the building comfortable in both winter and summer with updated heating and cooling systems.
You may have read about the project in a recent edition of the Methow Valley News. It is no small undertaking and will likely cost more than $200,000, based on preliminary estimates.
To be clear, the Methow Valley Community Center Association does not own the building. It currently has three purposes: the School District bus barn, the Senior Center, and the Community Center. The Senior Center and Community Center facilities are leased from the School District for $1.00 a year—a very generous lease arrangement, in recognition of the community’s wildly successful efforts to reclaim the derelict former District schoolhouse from the wrecking ball.
Nearly fifty years and millions of community dollars later, the Methow Valley Community Center has become a hub of activity. We are extraordinarily proud of the long-standing relationship we have enjoyed with the District, and we anticipate many many more years of mutual support. Particularly at this time, we are thankful for our partnership, and for all the benefits that have accrued to the valley as a result of that partnership.
In recent years, however, we have found that charitable funds and foundations are reluctant to offer large grants to MVCCA because of the terms of our lease—because we do not own the building, and because of restrictions in the lease.
In addition to standard (and State-required) 90-day contract termination notices, the lease also allows the District to take possession of part or all the building on short notice for other reasons: sale of the property, and emergencies such as fire.
Further, the renewable lease period is just ten years. By contrast, the payback period and lifespan of major infrastructure improvements such as heating and cooling systems will likely be in the 20- to 50-year range. Investing in long-term payback improvements only makes fiscal sense if the facility will still be in use by the MVCCA at the conclusion of the payback period, and beyond. The current terms of the lease provide no such assurances.
Naturally, then, we look to membership to help guide us through the decision-making process regarding these improvements.
Please visit the following webpage to complete a short survey. Your participation is vital! We would like your input prior to November 10. And The Iron Horse in Winthrop is offering “door prizes” for respondents!
If you would like more details regarding our lease with the School District, please do not hesitate to contact us or the School Board.
Thank you for your ongoing support! We cannot tell you how grateful we are for your continued generosity in these difficult times, and we are so happy that, despite the Covid-19 closures, our Community Center continues to be a valuable resource for so many of the valley’s organizations—including the Farmers Market, the Salmon Recovery Foundation, the Visitors Center and Library (now in limited reopening), the PUD, Cascadia/Pipestone, Terry Hunt, LFW Dance, Yoga, and Pasayten Taekwondo.
We look forward to Phase 3 of reopening and beyond, when we can again utilize the gym and further open up activities within the building, including Wellspring and Methow Valley Theater.
Also, remember that October is Give Methow month! Keep the Community Center in mind as you prioritize your donations this month.
The MVCCA Board
Bob Elk, Carolyn Sullivan, Greg Wright, Bev Jensen, Sybil Macapia, Richard Murray,
Charlene Burns, George Schoenfeld