This talk about creating a new high school at Lincoln has got me thinking. What edicts would I issue if I wielded absolute authority over program placement?
I think that I would use half of Lincoln for an 800 seat comprehensive high school. While this school would draw from the immediate area, it would provide the additional capacity needed for Queen Anne/Magnolia families at Ballard and Laurelhurst families at Roosevelt. It would be the natural choice for students coming out of Hamilton. It may have to be bigger than 800; we'll see. In the other half of the building I would put Summit K-12. Summit is an all-city draw and it should have a central location with good transporation access.
I would use the BEX III money allocated to Hale to rebuild Hale on the Jane Addams site. I have heard that the soil under Hale is not stable enough for 50-year construction, but the soil under Jane Addams, across the street, is stable enough. The Hale students will remain at Hale until their new school is ready. This means that the construction could begin as soon as Summit were moved to Lincoln. If the Jane Addams site isn't big enough, then some of the elements of the school could remain on the Hale side of the street.
Once it is a high school and home to Summit, Lincoln won't be available for use as an interim site, but Hale would be (in a couple years) and so would Wilson-Pacific. Hamilton students could use Wilson-Pacific as their interim site while their building is renovated.
I would use the BEX III money allocated to a K-8 at SouthShore and apply it to fixing up John Marshall for use as a special needs high school. I would house the Secondary B.O.C. and the programs currently at Marshall. The district says that they are closing Marshall because the space is under-utilized, so the solution is to utilize it. These are all-city draw programs and they need a central location with good transportation access.
I would fix up Columbia, make the AAA into a K-5, and put it there. The middle school of AAA should be closed - it isn't working. We need to be able to acknowledge failure - this is what it looks like. Plus, the school is SERIOUSLY under-enrolled and not making good use of the space. The AAA, as a K-5, can be housed at Rainier View while the work is done at Columbia.
I would put the New School in the AAA's building. The building is perfect for them. Why build a new K-8 when this one is sitting right there underenrolled? Does the District even own that Southshore property or is it owned by the City?
Speaking of that, I would move the Center School (enrollment: 284) from the Seattle Center to Old Hay. It is CRAZY for the District to pay rent when we cannot find tenants for some of our buildings. The Center School facility has been a SNAFU from day one. I only wish we could recover some of the millions that were pissed away on that property. To tell the truth, I'm not all that sure that I would even keep the Center School.
After the District changes the assignment plan for middle schools so that each student as only one reference area school, I would house APP grades 5-8 (550) at Meany along with a Spectrum program for all middle school Spectrum students south of the Ship Canal. The Spectrum students would get there on the APP buses. I would put APP grades 1-4 at McDonald. It has a central location with good transportation access and it is closer to the center of gravity of APP homes. Students could share buses with Summit students going to Lincoln.
Relocating APP would free up much of Lowell and 600 seats at Washington. The students now at Meany (497) could easily fit in the newly available space at Washington. The space at Lowell would allow the closure of Montlake and TT Minor.
Depending on how the high school reference area thing breaks out, I would be sorely tempted to find a new location for high school APP (400) to allow more room at Garfield. Candidates would include the new Lincoln high school (instead of Summit) and an academy at Cleveland. Another way to go would be for Garfield to expand its capacity by annexing the Horace Mann building (current home of NOVA) across the street. If NOVA were displaced it could go into Cleveland as an academy there, or into Lincoln or Marshall. I just thought of that idea this moment, so I'm not ready to issue a royal proclamation just yet. Also, the space at Garfield may not be needed.
Finally, I would allocate some BEX III money to renovate Fairmount Park for use by Pathfinder. I would seriously consider re-locating Gatewood to the Fairmount Park building and re-purposing Gatewood as Pathfinder because Gatewood is in a more forested location and the closure of Fairmount Park leaves a lot of territory without a school between the West Seattle North schools and the West Seattle South schools.
Down the road, I would be looking at re-developing Rainier View as middle school and I want to know more about the land that the District already owns at Interbay and the possibility of building a comprehensive high school there. I would also want to open discussions with Paul Allen, The Seattle Times, and the University of Washington about the possibility of creating schools in South Lake Union and Cascade.
Some funds for new land purchases could come from the sale of Montlake, Magnolia, M L King, and Gennesse Hill. I think we would hold onto TT Minor and Rainier View in case we wanted them as locations for middle schools or, in the case of TT Minor, special programs.
Of course, there may be any number of reasons why some of these moves would prove impractical or even impossible. They would all face resistance. But that's the beauty of fantasizing about having absolute authority; I don't have to worry about some of that. Feedback isn't really necessary since it is just pie in the sky. But I would like to know what other ideas are out there. What would you do if you had absolute authority over program placement? What schools programs and buildings would you shift around or re-purpose?