North Thurston School Board approves purchase of former Bally’s Fitness Center

North Thurston School Board voted 4-0 Tuesday night to move forward with the purchase of the former Bally's Fitness Center building at 200 Sleater-Kinney Road Northeast.

Board vice president Leah Wells was absent from the meeting.

The 65,292 square-foot building has been on the market for more than two years. It includes 3.22 acres and is next door to North Thurston High School, which will begin a major remodel next year. The former gym could be used for contractor storage, replacement classrooms or some other use that assists the remodeling project.

The district's $2.2 million offer was accepted by Fitness International LLC. The asking price for the building was $3.25 million.

Money for the purchase will come from existing capital funds, not the district's 20-year $175 million construction bond measure approved by voters in February.

South Sound resident Don Carlson spoke at the meeting, telling the board he hopes the district will keep the facility open to the community after school hours.

The gym closed in December 2011 after the chain's ownership changed to LA Fitness.

The district expects to spend about $1.3 million to make the property functional for school usage, according to construction and design director Mike Laverty.

He said he believes the district can shave up to a year off of construction time on the North Thurston High remodel by using the Bally's building.