Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Seeing the Inside of an Old School

 Update:  here's the updated story from Queen Anne/Magnolia News.  Some interesting history but also some expensive trouble for the district.

The building had various uses after it closed like being the home to the African-American Academy and a temporary fire station.

The "uh oh" is that it has landmark status thru the City in a large way.  This means much higher costs than if they could just renovate it without that status.  This has been a problem at many schools like Roosevelt, Cleveland, and Garfield.  I'm trying to recall the last elementary that had a major update that had this status but I know Coe, Stevens and maybe T.T. Minor.

end of update

Opened in 1927, Magnolia Elementary School served the neighborhood’s children for nearly six decades, before it closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. From then on, it served as a temporary site for several schools, including Adams (from 1987 to ‘89) and John Muir Elementary (1989 to ‘90). From 1993 to 2000, the building housed the African American Academy, before it moved to a new location in Southeast Seattle. Part of the building was briefly used by the Seattle Fire Department as a temporary station as Fire Station 41 was rebuilt in the late 2000s. - See more at: http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Voters-to-decide-fate-of-Magnolia-School/26/538/38356#sthash.iNBsAAtR.dpuf
Opened in 1927, Magnolia Elementary School served the neighborhood’s children for nearly six decades, before it closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. From then on, it served as a temporary site for several schools, including Adams (from 1987 to ‘89) and John Muir Elementary (1989 to ‘90). From 1993 to 2000, the building housed the African American Academy, before it moved to a new location in Southeast Seattle. Part of the building was briefly used by the Seattle Fire Department as a temporary station as Fire Station 41 was rebuilt in the late 2000s. - See more at: http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Voters-to-decide-fate-of-Magnolia-School/26/538/38356#sthash.iNBsAAtR.dpuf
Opened in 1927, Magnolia Elementary School served the neighborhood’s children for nearly six decades, before it closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. From then on, it served as a temporary site for several schools, including Adams (from 1987 to ‘89) and John Muir Elementary (1989 to ‘90). From 1993 to 2000, the building housed the African American Academy, before it moved to a new location in Southeast Seattle. Part of the building was briefly used by the Seattle Fire Department as a temporary station as Fire Station 41 was rebuilt in the late 2000s. - See more at: http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Voters-to-decide-fate-of-Magnolia-School/26/538/38356#sthash.iNBsAAtR.dpuf
Opened in 1927, Magnolia Elementary School served the neighborhood’s children for nearly six decades, before it closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. From then on, it served as a temporary site for several schools, including Adams (from 1987 to ‘89) and John Muir Elementary (1989 to ‘90). From 1993 to 2000, the building housed the African American Academy, before it moved to a new location in Southeast Seattle. Part of the building was briefly used by the Seattle Fire Department as a temporary station as Fire Station 41 was rebuilt in the late 2000s. - See more at: http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Voters-to-decide-fate-of-Magnolia-School/26/538/38356#sthash.iNBsAAtR.dpu
Opened in 1927, Magnolia Elementary School served the neighborhood’s children for nearly six decades, before it closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. From then on, it served as a temporary site for several schools, including Adams (from 1987 to ‘89) and John Muir Elementary (1989 to ‘90). From 1993 to 2000, the building housed the African American Academy, before it moved to a new location in Southeast Seattle. Part of the building was briefly used by the Seattle Fire Department as a temporary station as Fire Station 41 was rebuilt in the late 2000s. - See more at: http://www.queenannenews.com/Content/News/Homepage-Rotating-Articles/Article/Voters-to-decide-fate-of-Magnolia-School/26/538/38356#sthash.iNBsAAtR.d
SPS had invited media to walk-thru the old Magnolia school building in advance (and support of) the upcoming levies next week.  I was unable to attend but the Queen Anne/Magnolia News did.  They say they will have a larger story this week but they have several photos in this one.

The one that troubles me the most is the third photo of a pool of water in a hallway.  I have been told, more than once, that the one thing the district fixed in closed buildings were roofs and broken windows to protect the buildings from the elements.  I'm guessing that they don't do regular checks and that this is the result. 

18 comments:

Eric B said...

There is evidence of water and water damage in most of the pictures. Look at the floor to the right of the stage in the auditorium. Ugh. It seems like they will need to gut the place.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how this building could be ready by 2018. And if Eric is right and it is a gut job, how much are they budgeting? Are the planners being realistic? How many students would the building hold? Would Blaine return to being a middle school?

Wondering

Anonymous said...

And there is the typical old flooring...asbestos? It's in so many schools, but slowly getting replaced with each building upgrade or renovation. Any chance Wedgwood is on the list for upgrades?

From Wedgwood Elementary News:

Floor Tile Replacement
District maintenance staff started work at Wedgwood on Friday evening and Saturday to make repairs to floor tiles in six locations in the building. The floor tiles did contain asbestos so the work needed to be scheduled during non-school hours so the District crew could restrict access to the work areas...

http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/Migration/Departments/Risk%20Management/asbestos_faq.pdf

-parent

Anonymous said...

So, the same people who didn't bother to do basic preventative maintenance, now want a billion ? Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate how this district is managed and find a private company to take over the maintenance of these schools.

SPS need to focus on learning and that's not happening at JSCEE.

Revolt

Eric B said...

No other comments on the article or comments ahead, but I wanted to point out that the Eric B above is not the same one commenting here for ... I don't want to think about how long.

mirmac1 said...

People,

News Flash. You cannot find property and facilities of this size and configuration without paying way more than the proposed budget for Magnolia. Of course our district has minimal cred for conserving or maximizing capital dollars. But at this point, we must push to grab what we can. Furthermore, I advocate that we use our powers of eminent domain to regain properties previous idiot administrations let go. Let whatever developer or whomever complain; when a critical public need is clear - I challenge them to push back against SPS in condemnation proceedings.

Anonymous said...

SPS received funds from a legislative ask for the Magnolia School renovations (I think it was $10M?), so the project will not be completely funded by BTAIV.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

First commenter Eric B, you'll have to give yourself a new name (or tweak that one). Original Eric B has been here a long time so he gets that name.

Catherine said...

Ah... those photos bring back memories. Magnolia was my first elementary school. Would have loved to go on that tour!

Dave W. said...

The District had an employee whose job it was to keep closed buildings in tact so as to avoid damage like seen in the photos. He was eliminated a couple years ago and the savings went into Banda's enterage.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Dave. As I suspected.

Anonymous said...

These handful of photos just confirm what many on this forum have suspected or even known for a long time.

SPS is a disaster when it comes to capital asset upkeep. And no one seems to care.

The water damage is just ridiculous. As I've mentioned before, the circa 1997 major rebuild of the central building at Lincoln was because water was allowed to drip for so long there were major structural issues on the fourth floor in that building, requiring an unexpected full rebuilding.

Now we're seeing some water damage at Magnolia Elementary. So.... say the levy's don't pass. Does anyone think the district will send some roofers in to get those leaks shored up?

Also disturbing is the fact that the facility has just been "left in place" after Coe moved out. Bulletin board decorations still on the wall, stuff hanging above the stage, etc.

Years ago I worked at a summer camp. We were not dismissed from our contracts at the end of the season until everything was taken down, up away, and the buildings cleaned, from top to bottom. All posters must come down, etc.

It was explained to me that there was no guarantee that anyone that "put away" the camp for the season would return the next year, but it was our responsibility to make sure the facility was in such a condition that it could be ready to go when the new staff shows up.

I feel the same philosophy should apply to old school buildings. The district couldn't get some temps in there to get the whole school cleaned up and put away within a few weeks of Coe moving out? Its just unreal.

northwesterner

Catherine said...

northwesterner - that was kinda eerie. But it also made me sad that I'm sure there are places in the district where teachers would have loved some of those bookcases/cabinets left in the auditorium... but instead bought new ones out of pocket, or did without.

Yes - facilities management at SPS is sorely lacking. I've managed an old school building - I know what it takes, and it's not actually that much, if you know what you're doing.

bubba said...

Not to sound awful or trite, but BASIC EDUCATIO. Is not adequately funded, how can we realistically expect the school district to maintain and upkeep schools and facilities that do not provide services for students and are sitting empty... After all, if SPS was paying for temps, cleanup, upkeep, and general maintenance for these sites on an on-going and continual basis, people would he griping about that. I'm not saying that it is responsible or justifiable that buildings go to waste and/or detiorate into a state of disrepair, only that we all need to be realistic and mindful that the state of Magnolia Elementart may shed some light and illuminate the funding issue...

Anonymous said...

Bubba -

Ahhh, "fully funding education" as an excuse for on going operations issues at the Seattle School District. Of course, fully funding eduction does not mean a blank check to the school district, and any additional per student money would go right to instructional efforts and classroom reduction campaigns. So where does the additional cash come from for upkeep and maintenance?

We've seen MW report within the last few months that Flip Herndon has acknowledged that facilities management continues to be an awful situation for the district, and that they can't (paraphrasing here) "wrap their arms around the issue."

What we've seen in these photos is just more of the district's inability to maintain their capital assets because they "can't wrap their arms around the issue."

Every two years we get a new facilities condition report. A read through these shows the shameful condition of many of our occupied facilities, due to a total lack of preventative maintenance.

We've yet to see an action plan from district leadership on what they are going to do to improve this situation (they've acknowledged they only perform critical, emergency repairs, at a higher price tag than basic up keep) within the constraints of the budget. It would be nice to see them put out a plan to start fixing these issues and actually state their estimated resources to do so. Right now, they're just throwing their hands up in the air.

northwesterner

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually NWner, that was Charles Wright.

But I agree; the district likes to use the "not fully funded" to hide a lot of problems of their own doing. They created priorities and can see now the outcomes of ignoring other issues.

I would love for the Board to get in on this maintenance issue as well. They should have checked that roof at Magnolia because now, the renovations will cost more and who knows if there may be a mold problem.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Anonymous said...

Sorry MW - I flipped Flip and Charles Wright. My mistake.

That's what I get for commenting before I drink my coffee.

Melissa Westbrook said...

This from Flip Herndon at the Ex Ctm meeting this morning:

"Not that we don't upkeep our buildings when they are not occupied."

I did stifle a snort.