By Steve Wehrly/Journal reporter
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art has put $5,000 down to purchase the Frank Wilson EMS Building on Spring Street for $550,000.
EMS Chief Jim Cole and Hospital Commission Chairwoman Lenore Bayuk accepted the check on April 26 from IMA board members Chuck Bodenstab and Jack Yelverton.
Full ownership of the building and property won’t happen until SJIMA comes up with the rest of the money, but both Bodenstab and Jack Yelverton are confident that the museum, founded in 2001 as the Visual Arts Museum, will raise the money before April, 2016. That’s the date the deal must be done, according to EMS' Cole.
Until then, SJIMA will be making lease payments of $1,000 per month (plus taxes, utilities and insurance) to the San Juan County Hospital District, the owner of the building. As incentive to close the deal, the price for the building will increase by six percent per year until the final payment is made.
Bodenstab, Yelverton and museum advisor Stephanie Johnson O’Day negotiated the transaction with the San Juan County Hospital District. According to state law, the property could only be sold for at least $460,000 - the average of three independent appraisals obtained by the hospital district.
The museum is moving quickly to turn the EMS center into a museum for exhibits, educational classrooms and multi-media presentations. Meredith Clausen, an islander and Professor of Architectural History in the School of Art at U.W., is working with museum staff to choose an architect and brainstorm remodeling ideas.