Sale of Mountain View Elementary heritage building finalized

The Mountain View Elementary school building was sold for $50,000 to Gareth Jones, the Revelstoke School District announced.

The sale of the Mountain View Elementary heritage building is complete.

The Mountain View Elementary school building was sold for $50,000, the Revelstoke School District announced.

“In June 2013, the (Revelstoke Board of Education) discussed possibilities for the 1914 building with the Revelstoke Heritage Commission. We knew at that time that securing an owner would have challenges, due to the significant resources needed for revitalization. It was also clear from the professional feedback we received that the sizeable funds needed to restore the building would severely limit its sale value,” stated the school district in a news release.

“The board is pleased that the proceeds from the sale, in the amount of $50,000, surpassed the earliest estimates.”

The 102-year-old heritage building was bought by Gareth Jones, who plans to turn it into a a mix of medical clinic, craft distillery, restaurant and private apartment.

The school district announced the pending sale in August and it was finalized on Dec. 21 after the City of Revelstoke gave final adoption to the re-zoning and Heritage Revitalization Agreement for the building.

The sale of the building has been in the works since 2013, when the school district began exploring re-development options for the old school property. After two requests for proposals to develop the entire site came back with no suitable offers, the district opted to sell the school building alone.

Jones was the only one to make an offer.

“I’m really excited. It’s very real now,” he told the Review. “It’s probably not the most prudent decision I’ve ever made but I’m head over heels for the building itself.”

He said he’s waiting to complete engineering studies on the building before he goes to the City of Revelstoke for building permits. He said he’ll start by building the distillery portion of the building.

“That will mean we’ve done all the structural work we need to do and it means we can start getting product out, which is really important from my perspective,” he said.

After, work will take place on the tasting room and restaurant, followed by the medical clinic.

“If we can get those two or three parts done in the next year, I think we’ll have done well,” he said.

Jones wouldn’t say how much he’ll be spending on renovating the old building, which he called “stunning.”

“This is a decision that was made not from a fiscal perspepctive,” he said. “I feel a huge weight of responsibility to look after these heritage buildings. For me it’s the right thing to do.”

The Ministry of Education expects the school district to earn $2.4 million from the sale of three excess properties — Big Eddy Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Mount Begbie Elementary – as part of the contract that saw the construction of Begbie View Elementary and Revelstoke Secondary School.

The sale of the Mountain View school building is the first to be accomplished. School district superintendent Mike Hooker said they will now start working on the disposition of the rest of the site.

Plans to sub-divide the Big Eddy site were put on hold due to issues with the Big Eddy Water System. Hooker said it is not expected to proceed until 2018 when water upgrades are completed.

The district demolished Mount Begbie Elementary this fall and has sought feedback on possible uses for that site. Hooker said they will likely go out with a request for proposals for the property.

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