Yesterday I got word that Bainbridge-based Carden Country School is
in negotiations to buy the Moran School theater building.
Carden’s purchase would save the building from demolition and
possibly return it to its former grandeur.
For more about the proposed purchase, read my
I wasn’t able to reach a Carden representative before deadline,
but I did get a call this morning from Jeb Thornburg, an
island architect and Carden parent who is leading the school’s
effort to revive the Moran building.
He said the Carden, an independent Christian institution that’s
operated on the island since 1990, wants to grow beyond its current
limit of 40 students. Read a bit more about that in the school’s
I asked him how a small private school can undertake a
multi-million renovation of a building that has been neglected for
some 50 years.
“We feel confident in our ability to do that,” he said. “This is
real. We’re not just dreaming.”
While he was hesitant to discuss the details of the school’s
financing plan, Thornburg said the added tuition revenue from some
60 more students would help.
State tax credits for renovations of historical buildings will
also be a key component of the financing plan, he said.
Thornburg admits buying an existing building or even
constructing a new one would likely cost less and cause fewer
headaches than renovating the old Moran building.
But for Thornburg and Carden’s leaders, saving a piece of
Bainbridge history is part of the project’s appeal.
“Because we live here, we think it’s important to preserve the
heritage on our island,” he said.
For more about the Moran building, see my
September feature story.