What is to be done with the former Sunshine Children’s Center in Lakeview was the topic of discussion for the Lakeview Town Council at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 5, as both the County and the Lake Health District are interested in purchasing the property.
The Sunshine Children’s Center used to be the location for the Head Start program in Lakeview until it moved to its new location in the area. Since then the building has remained vacant.
Lake Health District CEO Charles Tveit told the Council that the Health District would use the location to house staff that work in the business office.
“Currently many of our business office staff work from home and this would be a great location,” said Tveit.
Tveit said that after the business office staff moves back to the Lake District Hospital at some point in the future, then the Health District would look at building a daycare center at that location, especially for those families that do not qualify for Head Start. Tveit noted that the lack of daycare options is hurting the growth of the community, and that it will be a much-needed option for young families moving to the area.
He stated that under its current condition it is not suitable for children, as it faces costly ADA compliance repairs. Town Attorney Jeff Hedlund said that when it was being used on a consistent basis the structure was grandfathered in for code upgrades, but now that it is no longer being used, whoever takes it over needs to bring it up to code.
One issue that was brought up by Mayor Ray Turner, is that the building is facing some major overhaul issues and needs to be brought up to current code, which might deter people from acquiring the property.
The bathrooms would need to be completely renovated, and either a ramp or a lift would need to be built at the entrance to make the entrance ADA compliant.
The County would house the Step-Up program, the alternative education program for Lake County School District #7 (LCSD#7). Currently the program is being operated on school grounds, and the administration of the school district wants to have it off campus.
Council members Niki Taylor and Darwin Johnson were both in favor of the building being reused, but both had questions on its future use and what could be done with the structure.
Taylor said she wished to see a full proposal from both the County and the Health District, but she also wanted to see if there were any other individuals or entities in the area that might wish to use the property. People, or entities, wanting to submit a proposal should contact the Town of Lakeview for more information.
Johnson wanted to get a market value on the property to know what the building is truly worth on the open market before selling it.
For more information call 541-947-2020.