Vashon VFW Hall sells; co-op preschool to move out

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall on Vashon Highway sold last month to Vashon Island Books, a partnership of two men who hope to create an interdisciplinary school there and continue to rent out the building’s popular banquet space.

The Vashon-Maury Cooperative Preschool currently rents out the bottom floor of the 6,600-square-foot building, but the school plans to relocate to another Island location after this school year, said Chuck vanNorman, president of the preschool’s board.

The new owners of the building, Phil Bevis and Derek Smith, intend to

open a school in the building this summer — the Center for Sustainable Book Arts.

“We’ll offer everything from workshops to internships — everything to do with the book,” Bevis said.

The partners of Vashon Island Books, which has warehouses in Seattle and on Vashon, purchased the building for $375,000 last month.

They’re excited, they said, about freshening up the space and preparing to open the school there.

“There’s clearly a lot of people who are looking for a place to learn, a place to be creative,” Bevis said. “We want to make sure we have a really vibrant, nurturing place for people to come and explore the possibilities of the book as a form of creative expression.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, meanwhile, have an agreement with the Vashon Sportsmen’s Club and will use the club as their meeting space from now on.

The upkeep and insurance costs of the hall had become too much for the organization, said VFW commander Roy Bumgarner.

“We’re really elated the hall sold,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to know that we can actually start operating as a service organization, start sponsoring scholarships.”

The VFW had owned the building “free and clear,” Bumgarner said, but had to pay more than $500 a month to insure the 1971 building, which also often incurred maintenance costs.

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