McIntyre Hall

McIntyre Hall

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MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit County Board of Commissioners authorized a $3.4 million bond Tuesday to fund improvements to McIntyre Hall.

As a single-issuance bond, it will function similar to a bank loan, said Cynthia Weed, lawyer with K&L Gates and the county’s bond counsel.

Rather than selling smaller bonds to the public, the entirety of the bond will be bought by North Cascades Bank, and will be paid back over 20 years.

John Janicki, who sits on the board of the Skagit Regional Public Facilities District, said the project includes an expansion to McIntyre Hall’s kitchen and replacement of the siding, which he said has been leaking “since day one.”

If extra money remains, he said it will be spent on improvements to the orchestra pit.

Construction had been planned to start in April, but the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic makes a construction timeline uncertain.

Weed said the original plan had been to issue the bond for public purchase, but the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the bond market has made this method more affordable.

“A lot has happened in the last month, month and a half,” she said. “The general view now is that the public bond market is on a freeze.”

The public facilities district is funded by a sales tax credit, and John Janicki said the board expects to receive much less than normal as businesses are closed in response to the pandemic.

However, he said the district holds a full year of debt service in reserves at all times.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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