Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Mann Building

Based on statements made by Superintendent Banda and President Smith-Blum, I believe the district is doing its best to be diplomatic and pragmatic with the former tenants in the Horace Mann building.

The Superintendent has said he wants to try to find solutions.

President Smith-Blum says staff made it clear when leasing the building that it was for a limited time and has a "claw back" clause (as nearly every lease of a school building does because the district needs to have the use of the building in case of need or crisis).

What is interesting is that it appears the actual lease holders (those who contracted with the district) HAVE moved out to other locations.  The other groups that remain (with subleases from the original lease holders) are the ones asking to stay.

She says:

"The Superintendent felt it was important to help the groups still in the building relocate as they are doing some good things with kids at risk. The task force has a fairly succinct charter - find viable spaces within a short period of time - so our construction schedule is not compromised. "


She believes, as has been stated here by a number of people, that there are many low-cost, alternative spaces for them to move to within about a mile of the Mann building.  

Nova moving into Mann is the first step to reconstitute Meany (which, in turn, helps the very crowded Washington Middle School).  The construction schedule, if delayed, will have a ripple effect on several programs including the World School.

If the district wants to try to locate alternatives for these groups, that's admirable.  In turn, the needs of the district and all the students that this issue affects should be understood by those currently in the building.

10 comments:

mirmac1 said...

I appreciate the district's conciliatory tone.

Anonymous said...
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Kate Martin said...

When the getting was good and things were wired for private folks to get the schools for a song (even though the demographics indicated that we'd need those schools very soon) - like Phinney Neighborhood Center, Crown Hill School and University Heights - the state and the city couldn't have fallen over themselves more to make those real estate deals happen. We should not have liquidated those properties the way we did. Now, south end folks need a place for private organizations to operate cheaply and everyone knows that's not in the Parks-operated community centers. I remember asking Ed Medeiros once (former ED of PNA) why PNA couldn't just be a community center and he very bluntly told me because they didn't want Parks and the government interfering)... I think Horace Mann and all schools should be developed as a base for a school to operate such as Nova and a 24 / 7 / 365 space for other uses that various groups need to operate outside of what Parks offers at the community centers. Equity is not being realized. The north got 3 schools within about 1 mile of each other and the south has none. Doesn't seem right.

joanna said...

Kate, let me just say El Centro, MLKFAME was a school, the African American Museum was the old Coleman School. I am not sure you are making your point.

mirmac1 said...

That's right. The Charter takeover possibility. I need to remember that with regards to any group wanting a building. I hope that charter lawsuit includes that as a major failing, gift of public funds.

Patrick said...

I can't speak to Phinney or Crown Hill, but for University Heights: The community was saddened, not eager, when the District gave it up as a school. But it would have taken an expensive renovation for it to meet current building codes, several split levels would have made it hard to meet ADA requirements, and the enrollment at the time looked like it was never going to be there. Yes, the community got it used for community purposes instead of turned into cheap apartments for UW students or something, but they'd have been happy to keep it used as a school if that had been possible.

Anonymous said...

Phinney schools / Phinney Neighborhood Association history.

http://phinneycenter.blogspot.com/2011/03/phinney-neighborhood-center-earns.html

PSP

Anonymous said...


MLK free space for youth :

http://www.mlkfame.com/

PSP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kate, I agree with more and better usage of school buildings for community uses.

But I disagreed that somehow this is a north- south issue (and I wish you had not stated it that way).

There are other non-community center options for the groups in the Mann building.

But, in the end, the building is needed for a school and now. The leases have ended and the building needs to be vacated.

Anonymous said...

It seems by saying "the north got 3 schools within about 1 mile of each other and the south has none" in her conclusion that Ms. Martin is showing a lack of information and broad understanding of the city demographics. First, the number of students to school spaces is VASTLY different north to south. There is capacity in some south end buildings, especially in the south east, and there are several projects scheduled for West Seattle, so I'm not sure what the "none" means. In contrast, capacity was long ago exhausted and exceeded in the north (Eckstein? Largely than south end high schools).

Second, I believe the previous BEX round focused largely on the south, with comparatively fewer schools built or remodeled in the north (per capita - remember, the population is not evenly spread throughout the city). It's a cycle that swings throughout the city. To understand, one must take the long view and understand a variety of data both across time and geography. I imagine most citizens want city leaders to understand the city's demographic data and history, in the big picture, nor merely in the things that reinforce existing views. I'm glad to see that other commenters such as Joanna are correcting the misinformation Ms. Martin is attempting to sow.
-- from Data Driven