State hopes historic Kenmore seminary building can be saved

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 8:01 PM

The Seminary of the Sulpician Order of Catholic Priests is a proud 1930s remnant of Western Washington's Catholic history, but it’s dying on the inside.

When the priests and students left in the 1970s, time and the elements moved in. You can walk down the endless hallways of this grand old building and you are sure to find a new leak after every storm.

The seminary is reaching a critical crossroads. It's in rapid decline and the state is excited to find renewed interest in leasing it out.
   
State Parks bought it back in 1977 after generations of young men were educated and elevated to priesthood here. It was a thriving school where dozens of students lived and learned with the priests.

Today it's occasionally rented by various groups.

Contruction and Maintenance man Gary Lawson doesn't just work here, he lives here and hates the thought of it wasting away faster than he can fix it up.

"The architectural design of this building is...I love it, it's really a good looking building and to have it preserved would be great,” he said.

Engineers say it will take in the neighborhood of $40 million to rescue the 85,000-square-foot place.
  
At least three qualified organizations have expressed interest in leasing and fixing it up.

One of the organizations that have reportedly expressed an interest in the building is an unidentified Seattle-area software company that specializes in cyber security.

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