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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BEX Updates

So perusing the BEX page, I read through the various "updates". I put quotes because they are all different from one another, some have nothing since 2007 (hard to believe) and some have some interesting information.

Of course, some of what is being argued over in the NE, namely capacity, could have been helped (or at least the district would be on stronger ground at this point if they had done something) by putting a NE elementary on the BEX III list. (Two schools, Laurelhurst and John Rodgers, had been on a list of schools considered. Also, Thorton Creek has been talking about being a K-8 for a long time and they have a large amount of acreage to do it on.) We have parents in the NE saying they wish there was more capacity and another middle school to take the pressure off of Eckstein (many are hoping for a K-8). Well, that might have happened except the choice was made to build New School K-8 a mile from African-American Academy K-8.


From Hale's project minutes:

"There is no District standard or policy regarding CCTV camera systems; on past BEX
projects it’s a site-based decision. For example, Roosevelt had no cameras, Cleveland had
48 added during construction, and Garfield is getting less than 50."

I have since been in contact with Pegi McEvoy, the new head of security for the district, and she's putting together a set of best practices for just this sort of item. I still cannot believe, to this day, that the district allows Building Design Teams control over security issues. I am working on the camera issue for Roosevelt (and, of course, the district has no money for this so we will have to find money on our own).

There was this item as well:

"iii) There are no current anticipated budget overruns on any BEX II or III projects."

Uh, what would you call the final price tag on Garfield?

There was also this item:

"Retro-plate concrete floors:
• JoAnn noted that retro-plate concrete, similar to the PAC gallery/lobby, is proposed for
new floor slabs in the library and art rooms. The process involves chemically hardening
and sealing the concrete, then mechanically polishing the surface.
• The design team would like to use this finish on the existing slabs in the corridors and
main common areas throughout the school, however the process may not be advised
for existing floor slabs in Nathan Hale. Further exploration is required.
• Retro-plate does not require waxing and is low maintenance.
• Retro-plate concrete is not slippery when wet, despite its polish.
• The cost is comparable to sheet linoleum.

Question: Will the retro-plate concrete be uncomfortable to stand on all day? Answer: A
drop floor mat will be provided where staff stands for long periods of time in their
classrooms."

Now this retro-plate concrete sounds good. It's that new look you see in a lot of restaurants/companies that is polished concrete that is so shiny it almost looks wet. It's almost dustless and is considered a "green" alternative. But, my first thought was "Standing on concrete all day teaching? How comfortable will that be?" I saw that it was done at Todd Beamer High in Federal Way but their phone system is a phone tree hell so I couldn't find a human to ask. But the fact that Hale will be giving staff mats to stand on makes me wonder. (Also, I don't know about you but I find concrete floors in restaurants to be very noisy in terms of conversation with sound bouncing all over.) It'll be an interesting experiment.


South Lake High school

Now this is an oddity. Nothing, zero, mentioned even though I believe the project is finished. The only thing you can find out is on the hotline number they have. It apparently is two-story, for 200 students, will open in the fall with a 2,000 square foot licensed day-care center. Odd that money was spent on this project and it's one of the first finished and yet, nothing.

Update (7/24) - I found this blurb in the last issue of School Beat, the district newsletter:

South Lake High School to celebrate grand opening August 28
Seattle Public Schools will celebrate the grand opening of South Lake High School on August 28. South Lake is an alternative school offering programs to students whose needs are better served in a smaller environment than a traditional comprehensive high school. When it opens next school year, the 30,000-square-foot building will have a capacity for 200 students and offer general classrooms, science labs, shared learning spaces, a parenting lab, and on-site childcare. South Lake will share the 11.4 acres of land with The New School, scheduled to open in fall 2009. The South Lake project was made possible by the 2001 voter-approved Building Excellence II levy.

South Lake High School grand opening
Thursday, August 28
9 a.m.
South Lake High School
8601 Rainier Ave. S.

The district is continuing with calling this South Shore K-8 but it is ID'ed everywhere else as The New School. It's pretty pointless except that they don't want to be accused of building a new building for a private foundation (but that's what they pretty much did - build it according to what The New School is as a school). (The mock-up even has the building named South Shore but that's sure going to be confusing to people who drive up.) You can't clearly read the artist's renderings so it's hard to know what is up with this building.


Hamilton Middle School

There's a Q&A this week, Thursday, July 24th, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln High School building, (4400 Interlake Avenue North)



4 comments:

Jet City mom said...

How can we build a high school- that is intended for 200 students at a time when we have excess capacity? ( and currently enrolls 99?)

I also am surprised we haven't read anything about the completion- move in date was supposed to be two weeks ago.

www.blrb.com/portfolio/southlake.aspx

I have another question.
No math is not my forte', however- their drop out rate is 38% lower than the district.
But the on-time grad rate, as well as the extended grad rate is 8% according to OSPI.
So what happens to these other students?

Gouda said...

Re The New School:

I'd love to hear how the Foundation benefits from having the Southshore building rebuilt. My understanding is that the Foundation is housed in the Treehouse building and is intending to remain there. So what does the Foundation get exactly? And can you please prove how the Foundation twisted the District's arm into building this building? It is your conjecture, and as such the burden of proof lies with you not with the Foundation or the District.

Truth be told, I'm so tired of this argument. I was THERE during those meetings, conversations, joint community meetings and more. The only impact the Foundation had was a negative one because nobody in the District wanted to be accused of the very thing you are accusing them of. Figures. You have a conspiracy theory. Great. Prove it, or leave it be. Those of us who were there know otherwise.

The thing that most upsets me is the argument that the Foundation benefits. Here's the deal: It's the community that benefits from the new building! It's the residents of SE Seattle who get to see the transformation of an otherwise awful corner at Rainier and Henderson. It's the students of Rainier Beach who get to feel pride that there are more viable options in their area for education and don't need to bus their kids up north to receive it.

I for one am glad my kid won't have to go to school where there are buckets in the hallways to catch the rain, where he won't have to wear an extra sweatshirt because the heat is broken, and where there are real walls and no more funky carpet. I know the residents of SE Seattle feel much the same.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, just because I think that the Foundation had influence over what is happening at the South Shore building doesn't make it conspiracy theory. I'm sure that the district does listen to the Foundation. The fact they are building another K-8 a little more than a mile from another K-8 kind of supports my argument.

For example, despite the fact that the district keeps calling it a K-8 or middle school use building, it was built for New School which is preK-8. Having part of it built as preK does lessen the possibility that it will end up as a middle school someday.

The Foundation gets a building to use out of this for the school they created. That's what they get. And yes, the community does get something out of it, of course.

However, Dunlap is brand-new and AAA is relatively new. So to say there's nothing nice in the SE is not true. The building was not great but there are buildings with many of the same problems and the district itself, in BEX minutes said the South Shore building could last several more years.

And, if the district had waited and worked with the City on the whole building, the community would have benefited from a facility that would have a coherent design and shared the costs.

But what's done is done. My beef is this insistence on calling it the South Shore building when it's clearly the New School and the Rainier Beach Community Center.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One, just because I think that the Foundation had influence over what is happening at the South Shore building doesn't make it conspiracy theory. I'm sure that the district does listen to the Foundation. The fact they are building another K-8 a little more than a mile from another K-8 kind of supports my argument.

For example, despite the fact that the district keeps calling it a K-8 or middle school use building, it was built for New School which is preK-8. Having part of it built as preK does lessen the possibility that it will end up as a middle school someday.

The Foundation gets a building to use out of this for the school they created. That's what they get. And yes, the community does get something out of it, of course.

However, Dunlap is brand-new and AAA is relatively new. So to say there's nothing nice in the SE is not true. The building was not great but there are buildings with many of the same problems and the district itself, in BEX minutes said the South Shore building could last several more years.

And, if the district had waited and worked with the City on the whole building, the community would have benefited from a facility that would have a coherent design and shared the costs.

But what's done is done. My beef is this insistence on calling it the South Shore building when it's clearly the New School and the Rainier Beach Community Center.