Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wilson-Pacific Meeting

Thought I'd open a thread for anyone who attended that meeting to weigh in.

As I posted elsewhere, I am baffled by the use of Wilson-Pacific fields for Lincoln High.

Why not Woodland Park?  Or, near me, they are going to lid the reservoir near Roosevelt High.  Why not dedicate one of those fields to Lincoln?

I said I think the district is doing the wrong thing on the Genesee Hill Elementary school design.

I think the district is creating a monster problem - from the get-go, no less - with Wilson-Pacific.

No lockers, no auditorium (for two schools!) and shared field?  Not exactly the same middle school experience as other SPS middle schools.  If there is no dedicated space for music in the middle school, I have to wonder what they can even offer.  It will certainly be lesser to Eckstein or Jane Addams.

Just wanted to put up the Operations Committee meeting agenda for Thursday, March 21st from 4:30-6:30 pm.

There are several capital items of interest:

BEX Oversight Committee annual report (John Palewicz, Chair)
BEX IV: Construction contract Green Lake Elementary lunch room addition (M.
Skutack)
BEX IV, Construction contract Jane Addams Middle School repurposing and seismic
improvements, Phase I (L. Morello)
BEX IV: Wilson-Pacific Elementary & Middle School educational specifications (E.
Becker)
BTA III, Construction contract: Gatewood Elementary School re-roofing (L. Morello)
BTA III, Construction contract: Columbia School modernization Phase II project (E.
Becker)

BoardPolicyActionReports
a. Policy 6600, Transportation (and procedure); repeal H88.00 and 6605 (B. Westgard)
Committee Updates and Discussion Items
Growth boundaries-capacity management discussion
Annual report: Policy 6882, rental, lease and sale of real property

35 comments:

Meg said...

There are additional problems. The plans only include one gym per building.

The middle school is planned as a 1,000 student middle school. Odds are high it may need to serve more than that. It'll be tricky to meet state PE requirements for the planned students with just one gym.

The gyms in both buildings are intended to be the auditoriums.

BUT! While the plans only include one gym per school, they DO include fabulous outdoor classrooms! And an outdoor amphitheater! Which in Seattle November-March (5+ months of the school year), will be a highly utilized resource... by nobody.

In addition, the design, with its many courtyards and wings, looks poorly planned for the addition of adequate portables. You could argue that neither school will pop over planned capacity.

But that might not be the wise way to bet. It certainly isn't the best way to plan in the part of the district that has the most overcrowding, and the least available inventory to alleviate the overcrowding.

K-5 enrollment north of the ship canal has grown by ~2,500 students since 2008-09. Middle school enrollment (again, north of the ship canal) has "only" grown by 650 in that same time frame.

This plan makes me really angry - it smacks of an architect allowed to run amok with grandiose ideas that are utterly removed the practical realities of education, and looks likely to make the logistics of providing an education to the actual kids in the building significantly more difficult.

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wp bound said...

Meg,

I heard from someone who attended the meeting that the MS was going to be built for 850 kids and 150 k-8 Pinehurst kids. I didn't hear a mention of the Indian Heritage kids so that's additional bodies to consider. I am really confused given the numbers.

The feeder schools to WP MS are: Northgate, Greenwood, Bagley, Broadview Thompson and Whitman Service area APP if not HIMS APP, as well.

2013 enrollment numbers were:

Northgate = 216
Greenwood = 367
Bagley = 399

Broadview Thompson = 661 (some will come to WP, won't they?)
APP at HIMS = 598 (to be split)

Taking 60% of 2013 enrollment, that's roughly 600 kids from those 3 feeder schools alone - not including any growth, kids from Broadview Thompson or APP kids. Michael DeBell claimed the 3-way APP split was great for NW kids since WP would have the largest population with over 300 kids. Oops....Right there we are over 800 kids. What about Broadview Thompson and Indian Heritage kids?

Meg, I am curious if you and Kelli who posted different, but also incredibly upsetting concerns, are letting the District know your thoughts. Who would I send e-mails and letters to about this situation?

Rebecca said...

I believe the lack of field space for Lincoln HS, and in Wallingford generally, is a compelling reason for Lincoln to not become a comprehensive HS (perhaps another HS program would work well there?). None of the Wallingford public schools/programs has its own field/green space (JSIS, McDonald, HIMS, Lincoln). Wallingford Playfield, at the edge of HIMS and just a block from Lincoln, is tiny. The public fields at Lower Woodland are great, but seem maxed out all of the time. The population and demands for those fields have grown significantly since Lincoln HS was open previously.

David said...

I get almost everything you are saying, Meg (outdoor amphitheatre? Really?) but I don't get why one gym would be a problem. My kid goes to a 1600 student high school and they only have one gym. Her 900+ student middle school also only had one gym and they were fine. Why would they need more than one?

Anonymous said...

Lincoln High School has not a single blade of grass. No field. The current school there of 600 (set to grow to 850 elementary kids this September!!) has fenced off part of the parking lot so that kids can play soccer on the tarmac. When they fall, they go to the nurse. A lot. 7 year olds falling on concrete is different than 7 year olds falling on grass fields. That is why football was banded at Lincoln, much to the dismay of many of the kids. Simply no place to safely play. Which is sad, since, this is an elementary school, and kids kind of, you know, like to play, need to play...

There will be 1,600 high schoolers there at Lincoln in a few years, and the athletics, football, soccer, track, etc, will need to go somewhere to practice and play.

During BEX III, high schools were redone. They were housed during renovation at Lincoln. When Garfield was sited at Lincoln, it went to Wilson Pacific to use the fields. When Roosevelt was sited at Lincoln, it went to Wilson Pacific to use the fields. Bishop Blanchett, a private Catholic High School in the area, goes to Wilson Pacific (and they even have some sport fields).

Ask Hamilton International Middle School, sited on a mere 2 acres, how much 'access' they get to the City of Seattle Park that physically abuts them so that they play their sports (answer: not much -- the community of Wallingford asserts themselves so that they, rightly, don't get squeezed out of being able to use their own park). That Wallingford park, like all city parks, is a public amenity, and after school, when the Hamilton teams need the field, is the same time the public needs the fields for the city-wide athletic organizations. There is MUCH competition for sport fields. (As an aside, that is why it is critical to maximize the fields at Wilson Pacific, so that the schools and the community has this important amenity)

Thinking that the district can get Parks & Rec to hand over most of the prime time at Wallingford to Lincoln is seriously failing to understand that parks are for everyone, not just kids enrolled in public schools. The joint use agreement doesn't operate that way.

Bottom line: there will be IMMENSE pressure on the sports fields at Wilson Pacific. I hope they will be turf, otherwise they will be a soggy mess and not useable for about 40% of the school year. And, before anyone thinks that to have more, or, simply enough playfields, parking has to be curtailed, a better response would be to curtail the sprawl of the building as currently dreamed, because those expensive "outdoor courtyards" have no sight lines, and, there is no curriculum for them, and, as it is now, parents of Cascade Partnerships have to pick up 'things' left behind from the evenings activities. Giving sheltered bays (a chain link fence won't keep people out) will be a beacon to entrepreneurs to set up shop. Whose ready to sign-up for morning clean-up duty? Will the district supply the gloves?

-WP bound too

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, as I said, why not Woodland Park or press the City for the lidded reservoir near Roosefield to be play fields?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Two things:

There will be a SEPA meeting next week for this project. Details to come.

Also,write to Eric Becker with your concerns at:
pebecker@seattleschools.org

Anonymous said...

@wp bound

I'm pretty sure that the Peaslee amendment (Growth Boundaries) called for a combined AS-1/Indian Heritage program to be housed at Lincoln in interim, then at Wilson-Pacific, so those 150 seats would seem to be for the combined AS-1/Indian Heritage program. That's not a lot of kids for a K-8, and it is on the low end of what has historically been the enrollment for the AS-1 program (at Pinehurst).

Also, I was under the impression that we needed two new middle schools in North Seattle (JAMS at 960 seats and Wilson-Pacific at 1000 seats). I don't understand why they would scale back Wilson-Pacific to 850. That would mean portables would have to be placed somewhere (Wilson-Pacific, if there is room, but if not room there, then at Eckstein, JAMS, or Whitman???).

Portables are 1) expensive, and 2) would over-burden the core facilities wherever they are placed.

Maybe this is why there wasn't a firm commitment to remove the older portables at Eckstein?

I really don't get it, especially when there are small school buildings in the SPS inventory that could be used to house a combined AS-1/Indian Heritage program in a way which better supports growth of the combined program (i.e. Cedar Park or Decatur).

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@wp bound said...

"Meg, I am curious if you and Kelli who posted different, but also incredibly upsetting concerns, are letting the District know your thoughts. Who would I send e-mails and letters to about this situation?"

Funny! Like the District would listen? Funny! I seem to recall Meg BEGGING them not to close/sell those schools (you know, the ones that they are reopening with BEX IV at a considerable cost?!), and they didnt listen then, and so, we all get to pay for it now (literally, with $700M to reverse the decisions made by the last Board)

Ah, but, at least we have to try to tell them what is going on, right? Agreed.

Since the State kicks in matching capital funds, perhaps emailing concerns not just to District staff, Mr. Banda, AND the board, but Senators and Representatives too? Perhaps Melissa will put up some handy-dandy Olympia email addresses too in her list, for easy reference. It has really come to that. I can't see any other way for this to get fixed.

The issues that are being CREATED at Wilson Pacific should be day-lighted. Maybe the Staff, if intense public pressure is brought to bear, will reign in whoever has pushed this misalignment between aspirational and implementation?

-scared & scarred

Anonymous said...

First I'd heard about an outdoor amphitheatre at the WP site.

You gotta be kidding me?

Seriously, SPS will be BUILDING AND MAINTAINING and outdoor amphitheatre?

Signed: WTF

Anonymous said...

Since Woodland Park really can't absorb the field needs of another school in Wallingford, and since the W-P site needs both fields and parking, how about a parking structure with a turf field on top? Or heck, since there's obviously more space needed for the actual school buildings that will go there as well, part of the parking level could be school structure, too. It could be underground parking, so less of an eyesore for the neighbors.

HIMSmom

Kate Martin said...

Can a community meeting be organized from the community side instead of the district side to weigh in on the buildings and site plan? We could invite the architects and landscape architects and some facilities folks from SPS. Others. But put us in the drivers seat.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I testified to the Board tonight on these issues as well as a couple of other speakers. One crafty student - with crutches - got Banda to be part of her show-and-tell about not having lockers. I have a photo.

Anonymous said...

@ Wp bound.

Meg and Kellie are practically fixtures at the District about capacity issues.

Kellie talked about the growing capacity issue when the kids were in pre-school over ten years ago. As everyone was looking at Kindergartens, Kellie would patiently explain on the playground which schools would be over-crowded by the time the kids were in 5th grade. I thought she was a little crazy at the time but it was very helpful.

Meg should be issued an "I told you so" T-shirt. She explained during the closures about how long it would take before the schools would need to be reopened.

- north seattle mom

kellie said...

IMHO, the simplest explanation for the problems with the Wilson Pacific project is twofold.

1) There is not a large natural constituency for the Wilson Pacific buildings. The project has been in the pipeline for a few years now and boundaries were only set a few months ago. That means for the bulk of the planning time, the planning was done without an established community group. So this makes it way to easy for the focus to be the building and the students.

There isn't a "planning principal" attached to this program. Therefore budget cuts like no lockers and no auditoriums just happen.

2) Enrollment growth has simply outpaced the plan and therefore as the most "flexible" space in the north end, it is getting over promised.

When BEX planning started, the north end was short one elementary school, as APP was in "interim housing" with no future destination. At that time, it made sense to build a new school on the largest open parcel of property in the north end to make up for the "one-school" deficit.

But as Meg said, elementary enrollment has grown by 2500 students in the last five years and the growth at middle and high school has just barely started. 2500 students is FIVE pretty large elementary schools which will roll up to be 1-2 middle and high schools.


Kate Martin said...

I think a giant K-12 / Community College campus can happen at Wilson Pacific with proper planning. We need a high school on a nearby site. I sent an email to Tom Redman at BEX/Faciities communication to set up a community council generated meeting that would bring together Greenwood / Aurora / Licton Springs and well beyond groups so we can weigh in on the site plan, the floor plans and whatever else. Your comment about how neighborhoods with low organizational capacity basically get mowed over is very accurate.

kellie said...

@ Kate,

One of the challenges is that Wilson Pacific is a very large campus at 16 acres but it is not infinite. I really don't think the campus can handle a K-12 enrollment.

This is simply because having such a large grade span means you lose any ability to optimize. Primary and Secondary education are really quite different. I can't imagine sending my K students to a campus with over 2,000 students to begin with and if there were three schools on that property, enrollment could easily reach closer to 3,000.

Oh wait, I think that is a big part of the issue. By designating the field as part of Lincoln High School, the property does need to function as K-12 property. Hence, the reason why the plan is not going to work for anyone.

I really hope more people send feedback about this. Buildings are planned for decades. So even if your students somehow manage to be just a few blocks away and are not in the Wil Pac boundaries, this does not mean, you won't be impacted.

IMHO, every single student north of the ship canal will be impacted. By having the one school in the center be "not comprehensive" in its very nature, that means there will be ongoing and continuous pressure for families to get into the "real comprehensive" middle schools. When that inevitably happens, the relief from over-crowding that folks will be hoping for at JAMS, Eckstein, Hamilton and Whitman, just won't happen.





kellie said...

I have done many large scale facilities projections. They all have something in common.

But the time you get done "planning" for expansion, the need that drove the expansion has changed. Change is not linear and it is impossible to escape the fundamental truth of planning in that there is typically more that you "don't know" than you "do know"

What is really typical is that you measure twice, cut once, with the goal being measure twice, spend once.

Planning for BEX started with 2010 enrollment information. It was then updated dramatically with 2011 information. When the district is adding 1500 students each year, those plans become null and void.

What was very typical was to take the original plan and update the original plan with the current number, you can then measure what has changed. The Wilson Pacific Plan made sense in 2010 and 2011. It made less sense in 2012 and in 2014, I dont' think it works any longer.

Anonymous said...

Near as I can tell the Design Cluster that is WP started with Kay Smith Blum's insistence that a k-8 style building in modular components would provide more long term flexibility. Staff hated the idea but she did not let go. The green space amphitheater probably started there too. She wanted sustainability and greenspace as longtime followers may remember. Staff hating the whole thing probably put some 1/2(@*#@ed effort into ceding to her wishes and shutting her up. Then the space was promised 3-fold to competing programs with no true planning for growth of any of those programs, staff and board left the district, parents got up in arms over their own pieces of the project important to their kids, and bam, another Classic SPS Capital Project Cluster. No one accountable at the district because "the person before them made the decision."

Sorry to be cynical but it goes down the same way over and over and over again all over the city. Meany. Boren. Denny. Choose your own example.

DistrictWatcher

Kate Martin said...

Hi.

I don't mean add a high school on the W-P site, but nearby. Seems some joint use with the community college would be useful.

Here's an exchange with Tom Redman at BEX/Facilities in an effort to initiate a dialogue for a community generated meeting:

Good Morning Tom.

Thank you for your response. We have our Northwest District Council on the 26th at the same time slot.

I’d like to get a community council meeting on the calendar to complement the other meeting formats.

Perhaps you could give me the contact information for the project team – architects, landscape architects, etc – and I’ll get to work to pull something together.

Who would you suggest I invite from BEX/Facilities?

Thanks for your help.

Kate Martin




From: Redman, Thomas L [mailto:tlredman@seattleschools.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:23 AM
To: 'Kate Martin'
Subject: Wilson -Pacific

Hi, Kate: We are having a SEPA informational meeting for Wilson-Pacific on Wednesday, March 26 from 7-8 p.m. in the Sea Mat center at Wilson-Pacific. At the meeting, architects will be there with site and school design information.
Tom

From: Kate Martin [mailto:katemartin@comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 3:59 PM
To: Redman, Thomas L
Subject: wilson pacific

Hi Tom.

I hope you’re well and that 2014 has gotten off to a great start for you.

I’m trying to find out how to get current on the site plan and floor plans for Wilson Pacific. I don’t think I’m in a communication chain on that, but I’d like to be.

Has there been any community council meetings out in the neighborhood that have hosted a presentation of Wilson Pacific? I’d really like to do that if there hasn’t been.

Let me know if that’s possible and I can pull together Greenwood and Licton Springs.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Kate Martin



Office 206-783-6538 Cell Phone 206-579-3703

Anonymous said...

And if anyone thinks the city, which may soon put parks into its own oversight district, will spend $$$$$ it doesn't have to lid a reservoir primarily for school field use, you are incorrect. Lighted fields are very hard to place because a contingent of loud neighbors always agitates against them. Further, any existing sports fields are already overbooked by longstanding athletic leagues. SPS is not wrong to put high school-grade athletic fields at WP. There is no where else to go. Where it's wrong is promising the site to too many competing school programs. Unless something changes in program and plan design, now, the effort is a multi-million $$$$$$$ sinkhole.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

The smallest program competing for WP space, btw, deserves the most consideration. We paved over the Native American historical gathering grounds at Licton Springs, then (RIP) Bernie Whitebear at least forced SPS to acknowledge the importance of the area with the Native American Heritage School at WP. It's a program that has received the worst of the worst support from JSCEE in the years I've watched.

To send that population to a crap facility for years, kick them out for construction, then not invite them back is about as culturally insensitive and low as the district could get.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Classic SPS Capital Project Cluster. No one accountable at the district because "the person before them made the decision."

Yup. I was very disappointed with Kay's constant focus on green buildings to the point where she seemed to miss that they needed to be buildings that work for education (not that she didn't care but it wasn't her focus).

robyn said...

District Watcher, I agree, the program should stay on the WP site if they desire. So I can make informed comments to the powers that be, how many kids are in the Native American Heritage program, and do they span K-12?

Also, does anyone know where the WP plans are? They were on SPS website two days ago, but I could not find them yesterday.

I wish they would just stop the architects for a while so the "correct" plans can be drawn. Right now, the District is either throwing away money on revamping designs, or they will end-up moving forward with a seriously flawed plan.

Kate Martin said...

I'm making a little progress to set up a community-generated meeting with the project manager, architect and landscape architect for the project so more people can weigh in, but not in the format of an SPS meeting, but instead a community-based meeting.

mirmac1 said...

I believe ALL reserviors will be lidded, due to safety concerns. It's already in the works.

Anonymous said...

Lidded yes. Sports fields, which are very pricey, no. Lighting for sports fields, also no.

Number of Indian Heritage students? Not sure it matters at this point as they have a community plan which seems to have board approval to merge with Pinehurst K8. The question is what is that total number now and what would it be if both programs were allowed to do good work in a facility that isn't crap. Thinking people would bet on the number growing. Both programs were bigger when district governance didn't beat them into the ground.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would think - given the growing need for sports fields that this would be a priority for the City given they will now have this space at Roosevelt. Maybe the district could kick in for the lighting.

Honestly, it's a win-win to have more sports fields so you'd think both parties would want to get to it.

Josh Hayes said...

Part of the problem with "turfing" the field at W-P is that the outfall from Licton Springs flows underneath the existing athletic fields there. I'm not an engineer, so I don't know the relevant code details, but I'm not at all sure that much impervious cover would work in that location. Given the frequency of flooding in that neighborhood already (and I LIVE in that neighborhood, so I know) this would certainly draw objections from the city, and sadly, rightly so.

mirmac1 said...

Josh,

Most fields these days are designed for superior drainage. Furthermore, drainage areas are now engineered to factor high and low flows (i.e. Longfellow Creek in WS). I expect the pond on the site is specifically designed to serve as a superior buffer to what has been there for a few decades. Excellent point.

Anonymous said...

The City Council is currently considering a ballot measure to increase funding for Parks maintenance and various projects. Although you would think the need for more athletic fields would be obvious, it is not. Also, although a majority of people would like more sports fields, there's always a very vocal minority that oppose them due to concerns about increased traffic, parking, and lighting at night.

If you want more athletic fields (and I love Melissa's idea of lidding the reservoir and putting a field on top of it), I would strongly suggest you email the City Council. I would focus on the following councilmembers:

sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
jean.godden@seattle.gov
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
mike.obrien@seattle.gov
nick.licata@seattle.gov

Jane

p.s. City Council will be voting on this April 28 so now is the time to make your voice heard.

Lynn said...

How do we know a majority of people would like more sports fields? Has the parks department done a survey on that?

There are many needs to be met by both the city and the school district. If we can't fund them all, there should be a transparent method of prioritizing them.

Universal access to preschool, school counselors, art and music teachers. Are those more or less important than lighted sports fields?

Anonymous said...

Lynn - fair enough, I don't know if a majority of people want more sports fields. My comment was in response to some prior commments regarding lack of sports fields.

Also, I'm not sure why you're trying to frame this issue as sports fields vs preschool or art. I certainly support all of these things. One of the options the City Council is considering is the creation of a Metropolitan Park District (this would require a vote of the people). If created, the funds can only be used for parks and recreation purposes - they couldn't be used for preschool - so it's not a competition between the two.

The City Council (especially Councilmember Burgess) is also very interested in universal preschool and is looking into options for that as well. So again, it's not a competition between sports fields and preschool.

My main point is that IF someone is interested in having more sports fields or concerned that there aren't enough fields (as one or two commentors stated), then this is the time to share those concerns with the City Council.

Jane

robyn said...

I'm with Jane. I want more sports fields. My kid gets 150 minutes of PE/month! He needs to be active and there is too much competition for field space.