Just a heads up on Director Blanford's community meeting tomorrow at the Douglass-Truth Library from 10 am to noon.
I was told that at the Work Session on Capital Projects (which I am sorry to have missed because it sounds like there were not enough hard questions and more than enough funny lines) that Director Blanford was looking for info to back the district's position on Wilson-Pacific. He said he felt it would come up at his meeting tomorrow and wanted to have an answer.
One thing to keep in mind is that the ed specs for Wilson-Pacific are the floor, not the ceiling. There is NO reason it could not have an auditorium. Money? Well, the district, to appease Sealth back when they were being co-joined with Denny found about $1M+ to keep them happy. I'm thinking the district has the money but does not want to spend it there. (Apparently they do want to spend it on GC/CM contracts for capital projects. This is a general contractor/construction manager delivery method versus a DBB which is design/bid/build process. I've heard various back and forth on this issue but my point is, it tends to be more expensive.)
There was a map at the meeting that took up a fair amount of time because, well, everyone seemed so in love with it. I'll try to find a link but it's called "Capital Projects Site Map." The big excitement comes from the fact that (1) every single property the district owns (even leased ones) appears on the map and (2) it purports to show all the active capital projects.
I looked at the map and said, "Where the Cleveland Forest?" The district owns that and it's not on the map. (Maybe because it's undeveloped?)
As well, apparently the Board was very excited because the map would
show that capital projects are evenly distributed north and south.
Apparently, Flip Herndon, in explaining the map, gave the example of Queen Anne High. He said the district "owns" something (I'm confused because I thought this was long gone) and the district, if they ever wanted to use it, would have to buy all the condos in it. Sure, that's going to happen.
I find this whole thing troubling because this is not where the focus should be. Why is this a big deal to show where the BEX IV projects are? Why isn't there a map showing all the past and present BEX projects? Anyone who reads this blog would know that yes, BEX has been mostly evenly distributed (with a slight lean to the south end). I can't believe this is a burning issue for the Board.
What WOULD be great is a full account - in detail - about every single capital dollar in BEXs and BTAs over the last 20 years. What WAS to be done, did it get done, what was the budget for each project, what ended up being spent for each project and what DIDN'T get done/reduced. Never seen that document or map.
Also to note from the meeting:
- World School finally has its entire $14M that got promised way back when. (It had gotten reduced - without explanation - to $11M but, at this Work Session, it's back up to $14M.) Its project is to be done in three phases with the bulk of it in Phase three. They will end up with 600 students on what is arguably one of the smaller elementary sites in the district.
Now I've hung around this place long enough to remember when oh no, we could not build bigger or a different grade level of school at an elementary site. The ed specs had a certain acreage for elementary, middle and high school. I do believe those have gone out the window.
- Eckstein is getting rid of four portables. Yay! But two of the newer ones are going right back to Hale. The other two? Well, fingers crossed that they get demolished because what I was told when my sons were there was that those older portables were about 40 years old. Done.
- I think my sense that STEM K-5 is moving faster to becoming a K-8 was right. Apparently the schedule is being moved up for Arbor Heights. You'd think it would be all about AH having the worst building in the district but, if that were the real reason, then it would have been at the head of the list from the start. But now it gets moved up just as STEM K-5 wants to be a K-8 (and, I would assume, that the district wants that as well especially since they are running out of middle school space in the SW).
I am sensing that staff really want parents/community to get out of the way and let them proceed. What I find interesting is that when staff wants to support a project, they say, "X amount of dollars got voted on for this project in BEX" but they go very silent when they are questioned about what projects get changed from what appeared on the ballot. Can't have it both ways.