City, school sign letter of intent for Wellness Center

by Marianne Gasaway

The Clear Lake City Council unanimously approved a letter of intent Monday night to partner in the construction of a wellness and recreation center with the Clear Lake School District.

The project is part of an $18 million bond issue the school district is putting before voters March 3.

Clear Lake Schools Superintendent Doug Gee said committee members who have been a part of the proposed project have begun collecting signatures for a petition to put the bond issue on the ballot.  The proposed $18 million bond, which requires 60 percent approval, would provide funds to build, remodel and equipment improvements to the athletic facilities at the Lions Field Complex; to build, furnish and equip additions to the middle/high school facility including wellness center and gym vestibule additions; and to improve, remodel, furnish and equip the middle/high school facility and site, including a greenhouse and parking/sidewalk improvements.

The proposed wellness and recreation center represents about $10 million of the bond issue request.

Calling the letter “an expression of good faith,” Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory said a 28E agreement would be developed in the future to memorialize details of joint project. That agreement would be signed no later than 30 days following the successful passage of the bond vote by the school district.   

The letter of intent can be terminated at any time by either party, or if the referendum would not pass, then the letter of intent would terminate at that point.

The two parties have agreed to a plan in which the city will cover day-to-day operation of the center, including staffing and will be entitled to revenues generated at the facility.  The school will own the building and agree to lease to the city for not less than 25 years.

The school district has taken the lead for the design and construction phase of the proposed wellness center and is the primary financial contributor.  The city has verbally committed $700,000 to the project in the form of a general obligation bond, as well as a $300,000 contribution from its general fund to support costs associated with the elevated walking track, multi-purpose rooms, indoor playground rooms, and areas and other amenities located on the second level of the proposed building.

The entire facility would be open to the public at all times, with the school only utilizing portions of the lower level as needed for practice

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