By Jason KUROSU
The Glendale Unified School District is exploring exchanging property with developers for a new administration building, an idea that board of education members believe will streamline district operations efficiently and prevent a more costly renovation process in the future.
At the July 14 board of education meeting, GUSD board members discussed a preliminary proposal to exchange properties with a developer.
Sam Manoukian, a real estate agent with Re/Max Optima, led a presentation regarding a property at 1015 Grandview Ave., the former site of Glendale Career College. The discussions regarding a property exchange were characterized as preliminary, but GUSD officials expressed optimism over the idea, saying a new building could approximately double the parking spaces with a new parking structure, consolidate numerous GUSD services into one building and save costs on renovation at the current building.
GUSD Chief Business & Financial Officer Robert McEntire said that the current GUSD building on Jackson Street in Glendale is aging, and that getting voter approval for renovations would be “a hard sell.”
“It would require a fair bit of capital, well in excess of $10 million to make, for example, the bathrooms ADA compliant, to make significant upgrades to the fire systems, alarm systems, things like that, that really would have no aesthetic improvement and certainly wouldn’t solve the fact that we are part of the parking problem locally,” said McEntire. “If we could find a transaction whereby another property makes sense and the swap would be close to equal or even cover a large portion of the tenant improvements, that could theoretically be a big win for the district.”
GUSD Board Member Greg Krikorian said the issue of an outdated GUSD building would have to be dealt with sooner or later.
“Either this board or a board five years from now or 10 years from now is going to have to aggressively deal with this building, obviously with the sprinkler system, upgrades in retrofitting, the whole nine yards,” said Krikorian.
Krikorian said the Grandview property could offer opportunities that are not feasible at the current location.
“One thing that this gives us is the component of having a one-stop center for our students and parents,” said Krikorian. “We have the opportunity here to have student services, a Welcome Center, intercultural support systems, all on one floor, all integrated and connected together. In our present building, we are scattered throughout the building on different floors and we’re also confined by space. There’s so much we could do with this property. It’s exciting.”
“I think this is a tremendous opportunity,” said GUSD Board Member Christine Walters, who didn’t want to say the current building was “in disrepair” but conceded that upgrades were necessary.
The GUSD board also took on the reorganization of board member duties, during which the five board members rotated officer roles.
As of July 14, the GUSD board president is Christine Walters, the vice president is Armine Gharpetian and the clerk is Nayiri Nahabedian.