I make no secret of the fact that I had been pushing for the district to consider applying to take over the empty Federal Reserve building downtown. I believed it was worth looking into (and still do). However, that is now tempered by this rather large push for the building. Who's pushing? All the forces that have decided that, for SPS, preschool is the cause de jour (de annee, as well).
I think this is very much about the City's preschool push and, without that, the district would not be acting as it now is.
When I talked to Facilities' Flip Herndon at the community meeting where all the staff showed up to talk to the public, he could not have been less interested. He practically said that they were just too busy with BEX to consider it. And now? Well, here's the press release from the district:
Seattle Public Schools is inviting the public to attend a conversational meeting regarding the possibility of creating a K-5 elementary school in downtown Seattle. After the meeting, at about 7:15 p.m., attendees can take a tour of the nearby Federal Reserve Bank building, a potential location for a downtown school.
When: 6 p.m., Monday, July 28
Where: Seattle Central Library in the Microsoft Auditorium, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle
What: A short presentation on what a downtown school might entail, followed by an informal Q&A with Seattle Public Schools staff.
Seattle Public Schools enrollment is growing, with an additional 10,000 students expected over the next decade. The District has seen an increase of families in the Downtown area, and voters in 2013 approved the Building Excellence (BEX) capital levy, which included $5 million to begin planning for a downtown school. The District is awaiting information regarding the Federal Reserve Building as a possible location for a downtown school.
A tour? This is an unusual step for the district. (Also, I have never heard the district say they expected to keep up the 1,000/per year rate of growth before.)
A "conversational" meeting? That involves talking so I would expect the majority of the meeting to be a conversation and not a presentation.