CLEAR LAKE | Clear Lake Schools may sell an aging preschool building to a developer who might be interested in creating affordable housing, according to school officials.
Sunset View Preschool, located at 408 Mars Hill Drive, is more than 60 years old and needs an estimated $750,000 in work, according to Superintendent Doug Gee, who said it would be more efficient to add a preschool pod at Clear Creek Elementary.
The expansion at Clear Creek would cost about $3 million, Gee said, and would be built on the northeast side of the building near the kindergarten pod.
Sunset View would remain open for one more year as construction begins at the elementary building. Upon approval by the School Board, work is tentatively scheduled to start this fall and be completed by summer 2019, in time for preschool students to begin attending in the fall.
The addition would include modern classrooms, a multipurpose area, a small library and a preschool-appropriate playground, as well as changes to the pick-up and drop-off areas, which Gee said will make the process more efficient for parents and buses.
“All around, it’s a huge improvement,” Gee said.
Adding the pod would also allow the district to add another preschool section.
“We always have a waiting list for 3-year-old,” he said. “That’s going up, and special ed at the preschool level is also increasing.”
This year, the district had about 78 students in its 4-year-old program and about 65 in its 3-year-old program.
With the move, Gee said he anticipates preschool staffing levels would stay the same and could possibly increase, especially for special education.
The Clear Lake School Board will hold a public hearing on selling the Sunset View property at 6:30 p.m. June 19 at the administration building.
Dolly James LLC is interested in purchasing the building for $150,000, according to Gee. A developer connected to the company declined to comment Monday, citing the ongoing sale process for the property.
“I have expressed to them, Clear Lake has a shortage of affordable housing, or places to rent,” Gee said. “The deal at Opportunity Village is for 55 or older; there’s not a lot for younger (people).”
Sunset View reopened as a preschool in 2015. The building hadn’t housed early childhood students for about seven years due to budgetary concerns and declining enrollment.
At the time, school officials said the move was necessary to make space for a growing population at Clear Creek.