Wednesday, August 30, 2006

BEX III Levy

Today, from 5 pm to 7 pm is a Board Work Session on the BEX III Levy. I'm teaching a class at Seattle U at the same time, so can't attend. If anyone else does, please post comments here about what you learn.

From information on the SPS website, I found the following details.

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Proposed projects for the Phase III program include:
• New construction or historic renovation at up to two secondary schools and/or three elementary schools;
• Additions of up to six classrooms and seismic modifications at up to two high schools;
• Academic upgrades at three high schools may be done in conjunction with the additions.

Academic upgrades include:
o Science room upgrades such as new lab tables, demonstration areas and fume hoods;
o Career and Technology spaces such as automotive shop modernizations or new commercial kitchens;
o Visual and Performing Arts spaces such as new auditorium seating, improved acoustics in choral / band / little theater, video production and radio station modernizations.

• Large systematic deferred maintenance backlog items that were identified in the January 2006 Building Condition Survey throughout the District. Some planned examples are:
o Water systems upgrades;
o Modernization to child care facilities to meet current licensing standards;
o Indoor Air quality abatement which may require ceiling tile, carpet or roof replacement;
o Seismic mitigation at schools that have been identified as seismically deficient.

• Installation of synthetic sports turf at up to four sites:
o Up to two sites would be replacement of existing deteriorated synthetic turf with new turf;
o Up to two sites are proposed to convert from native soil / natural turf to a synthetic turf system.

• Technology upgrades throughout the District including hardware replacement, legacy systems and staff training.

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Check out the following resources to learn more:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/facilities/SEPA_Addendum.pdf (district document)

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Sound Off (a post by a frequent commenter on this blog)

South Seattle Alternative Middle School (plan to make Orca a K-8)

School proposal would erase deficit (relevant mention is of postponing work on Hamilton to BEX III)

A NEW HOME FOR THE NEW SCHOOL AT SOUTH SHORE (page 2 in newsletter)

4 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

There was a Board work session on BEX III levy planning this evening.

The project list put forward by the staff includes:

* Hamilton Middle School - total renovation - $73.4 million

* South Shore - total new construction of a building that
could be a K-8 or a 6-8 - $64.7 million

* Denny / Sealth - total new construction of Denny and some
shared facilities, total renovation of Sealth classroom
building $125 million

* Nathan Hale - total renovation - $77.6 million

* Ingraham - replace one building - $22 million

* Rainier Beach - new auto shop - $500 thousand

These projects were chosen using priorities adopted by the Board in
Chapter 3 of the Facilities Master Plan in January. The Board has
already committed to the Hamilton project and the Southshore project
in votes taken earlier this year.

In addition, BEX III will include:

* Water piping - $10 million

* Indoor Air quality improvements - $10 million

* Synthetic turf replacements - $6 million

* Technology upgrades - $42 million

* BEX IV planning - $2 million

* Program overhead - $48 million

* Financing costs - $17 million


So there's a lot of stuff that isn't here.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
elementary capacity in Capitol Hill / Eastlake. An alternative set
of projects (Option 2) included a renovation and expansion of
McGilvra (and Rogers), but this did not prove popular with anyone
present.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
middle school capacity in northeast Seattle. Hamilton is being rebuilt with less capacity than it has now.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
middle school capacity in southeast Seattle. There will be some additional middle school space at Southshore, but The New School is an alternative school which cannot be relied upon to provide middle school seats any more than the AAA or Summit provide needed middle
school seats.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
high school capacity unless the Sealth classroom renovations and the Nathan Hale rebuild include greater capacity. No mention was made of this.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
high school capacity for the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the need for
space for the B.O.C.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that addresses the APP
reconfiguration.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that provides for renovating
Whitworth for use as a K-8 for ORCA.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that provides for small
projects that would "spruce up" a number of school buildings.

There is no element in the BEX III levy that provides for deferred
maintenance projects all around the district.

In Option 2, the District staff toyed with the idea of curtailing
the Nathan Hale renovation and using that money instead to fix up
and expand Rogers Elementary and McGilvra Elementary, but they
decided against it. Director Bass questioned the wisdom of expanding
capacity at one Central Cluster school while the District is closing two others due to excess capacity. No one questioned the wisdom of building a new school at Southshore while the District is closing schools there. No one questioned why Hamilton wasn't being built larger if the District needs additional capacity in that part of the city.

On the whole the District staff person with lead responsibility for
BEX III planning, Kathy Johnson, showed herself to be a thoughtful
and competent person with an excellent command of the issues and the details. Other staff people did not make as positive an impression.

The meeting opened with a discussion of middle schools which later proved totally irrelevant to the question at hand. Ruth Medsker,
secondary ed director, ran into some trouble when she presented some statistics about middle schools. Board members sharply questioned the conclusions that she drew from the statistics and ultimately disputed them. Ms Medsker did not appear familiar with the sources of the numbers she reported nor could she support the conclusions she jumped to.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am deeply disappointed in this BEX III list and for a number of reasons that Charlie has cited. I find it so disrespectful for the district to have taken the money alloted in the last BEX measure for the Secondary BOC and moved it to Garfield's pot (due to cost overruns) and then not even a mention in this BEX. Has their need gone away or lessened? No.

My son just graduated from Hale. Except for the mold problem, there has never been discussion at Hale about rebuilding it. I was surprised to see it on the list (and more surprised to see the principal there). I spoke to the Site Council right before the end of school as they were curious about my work on the CAC. I mentioned a possibility of work at Hale and they expressed surprise. Hale has a new Performing Arts Center and they said nothing had been mentioned to them. This is the governing council at Hale (except at this meeting there were no staff) and they knew nothing about this. Curious.

My main concerns are that this place was not done in parallel to school closures and that basic maintanance is not happening at schools. I will not support this levy in this form.

I think at this time and place in our district's history to go the voters and ask for money for these projects is wrong. What I would do is ask for money to do some smaller projects: correct the seismic problems at Hale, build the new shop at Rainier AND do maintainance and corrections at many more buildings. An example is at Eckstein we had the worst carpeting in the library. It was discolored, smelled and had tears. The PTSA got tired of it and paid to redo it. What a difference! It's a small thing and I think it is little fixes like that, at many schools that we should tell the taxpayers we will spend their money on. Make each area of the city feel like something was done. Director deBell expressed sadness over how many buildings needed help. Well, rather than do it a few at a time, every other levy work on many buildings. I believe the voters would find it far more palatable than a few.

The only exception I might make is for Hamilton which has been waiting and waiting. But it is odd that Hamilton is to be rebuilt but at less capacity.

Charlie Mas said...

The B.O.C. requested and the Board adopted a different funding for the construction/renovation of a building for the Secondary B.O.C. Instead of being funded through capital levies, it will be funded through property sales. So when the District sells John Marshall, this is where that money will go.

Stated capacities for buildings are a funny thing.

For example, the stated capacity for Meany is 813, yet the District tells us that the school is full with the 472 students there. Similarly, the 620 students at Aki Kurose fill that building with a stated capacity of 937. These schools are actually full despite their apparent excess capacity due to the way that the students are organized in the school. They are not in neat homogenous phalanxes of desks in room after room down a hall. The arrangement of the learning groups that is appropriate for the students in these schools is different and demands more space than the neatly stacked model. At least that is how it was explained to me.

The net result, of course, is that the District leadership has no good idea of the actual capacity of many of their buildings. In the absence of good data it is extraordinarily difficult to make a good decision.

The Hamilton building, as it is currently configured, reportedly has a capacity of 853 without portables and 928 with portables. The plans for the renovated Hamilton call for a school with a capacity of 900. That's why I say it will be rebuilt smaller.

The official enrollment last year was 724, which might lead you to believe that it has open seats, but the school had four portables.

Brad Miller said...

This is really frustrating to have these dirt and molds

eating your homes slowly. You badly need like the Queens mold

removal
team to totally get rid of it. Aside from being

clean, health considerations are also an issue since this

could affect any of the family members.