Daily Archives: December 15, 2010

Carden school confident it can revive Moran building

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 story.

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 strategic plan.

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.

BITV goes off the air

Bainbridge Island Television ended its 25 years of public access broadcasting this week.

It’s dying days were tumultuous, with street and City Hall protests, e-mail and social media campaigns and several BITV news specials decrying the city’s decision to cut funding to the station.

Now a fight looms over the robotic cameras and other equipment BITV purchased with public funds. BITV says the equipment belongs to them. The city disagrees.

And there appears to be some conflict on BITV’s sparsely-populated board. One member is now serving as both president and vice president, while another member says all control is now in the hands of the executive director. There are hints that some former board members may try to revive the station in the coming months.

You can read more in my most recent story about BITV.

This blog’s most recent poll (see right column) posed the question of how much financial support the city should give BITV. As of today, the results show a majority (64 percent) wanting no city funding to go to the station. About 20 percent want the city to meet BITV’s full funding request of almost $300,000, and 16 percent say BITV should get half that amount.

You can read BITV’s closure announcement below.

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