Jan 6 letter from board president

Dear TIS Parents:

In light of the current strategic planning process and in the interest of keeping the community informed, I am writing to make you aware of a new opportunity that the Board is exploring regarding the school's physical plant and to seek your input.

The Board has learned that the former Federal Customs House building located on the North Park Blocks at 220 NW Eighth Ave. (between Davis and Everett) has been declared Federal Surplus. This means that through the General Services Administration (GSA) the property is made available first to public bodies and certain non-profit institutions, like TIS, for no cost or at an extremely discounted rate. If a qualifying institution does not step forward, during the next couple of weeks, then the building will be offered for public sale. Given the location and the building, under the right circumstances, it may be of interest to TIS as the future home of the school.

Board members Kat Topaz, Kim Marcus, and Mark Holman have undertaken to prepare and submit the necessary documentation to enable TIS to be considered a serious candidate to become the new owner of this building. This process is through the Department of Education Federal Real Property Assistance Program - a program through which the Federal Government conveys surplus real property to educational institutions.

A local architecture firm that specializes in refurbishing buildings of this nature, has donated preliminary drawings of our school in the Federal Customs House based on projections of enrolment and programming through 2016. At this very early stage of the process, it appears that this building may meet our current and future needs as a school.

Please note that even if our candidacy for ownership is approved, in no way is the school obligated to accept the building. Instead, we will have a time period during which we must assess the situation further, including understanding the costs and ensuring that we can afford the necessary improvements to the building to make it suitable for the school's purposes. Most importantly, of course, before the Board would commit to such a move, we would want to engage in dialogue with our community. If this new building becomes a possibility for us, there are many, many questions that will need to be answered, including some pertaining to our current campus.

Let me emphasize that we are very early in this process. Even if the school were to move to the Customs House, the earliest this could take place would be the year 2010. In the meantime, of course we shall continue with our plans as normal for the current facility. The refurbishment of the Main building and the two projects for the Special Appeal are moving ahead as planned as we continue to serve our students’ needs.

There will be more information about the Customs House facility for us to communicate to you in due course. In the meantime, if you do have some initial thoughts about the potential for such a move, the Board is interested in hearing from you by email at this address:Customshouse@intlschool.org. There will be further opportunity to comment later on as we continue to provide updates.

On behalf of the Board, I hope that everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday and wish you all a happy New Year.


Michelle Kerin
Board President