District wins grant for energy efficient capital improvements

Here is the press release from the District.

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded grants to school districts for making energy efficient changes. $3.8 million of the $17 million awarded to districts across the state goes to Seattle, where 21 schools will get upgrades. The grants cover about one-third of costs of the changes.

• $1,030,360 for replacing heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and boilers in six schools (out of a total cost of $3,733,800). Those schools are: Arbor Heights, Decatur/Thornton Creek, Graham Hill, Green Lake, Northgate and Schmitz Park elementary schools.

• $749,000 for replacing HVAC systems and controls and to retrofit lighting at Green Lake Elementary School and Ballard High School. (Total cost: $2,445,249)

• $565,800 for replacing HVAC systems/controls and lighting retrofits at Madrona and Pathfinder K-8 schools (Total cost: $2,043,300)

• $513,300 for replacing HVAC system, controls and retrofitting lighting at Viewlands Elementary School. (Total cost $2,043,300)

• $496,565 for replacing HVAC system and controls and lighting retrofits at Lawton Elementary School. (Total cost $2,178,425)

• $457,629 for replacing HVAC system and controls and retrofitting lighting at Hawthorne Elementary School.

• $45,530 for retrofitting lighting in eight school gymnasiums (total cost: 183,530). Those schools are: Whitman, Eckstein, McClure, Meany, Aki Kurose, Mercer and Washington middle schools and Hay Elementary School.

Only a few of these schools, Ballard, Hawthorne, Pathfinder (formerly Cooper), and Madrona, are new or newly renovated buildings. Meany and Viewlands are the only ones caught up in the recent capacity management fiasco. So why doesn't McDonald or Sand Point get this stuff? Why doesn't Old Hay or Rainier View? Who decided which schools get the updated equipment and how was the decision made? Was this a data-based decision or a politically motivated one?

If we have money for this sort of work, then why did the District have to close the Mann building? How much of these new systems will be torn out when some of these buildings are fully renovated with BEX IV?


All good questions, Charlie. I'd have to go back and compare all this with what is on BTA III. I, too, wondered how Ballard, a pretty new school, could need a new HVAC system when there are lots of older buildings that need help. It is likely that Whitman and/or Eckstein will be on BEX IV so yes, they probably will see a quick fix that gets torn out. I am surprised that there was no explanation from the district about how the schools were picked. Arbor Heights might also be on the BEX IV list.

I'll check the BTA III stuff I have.

I mean, yay, free money to help our infrastructure but it would be nice to know how the 21 schools were picked.
lendlees said…
Why in the world isn't Lowell on the list for a new boiler? That poor school every year endures the boiler breaking down, floods, mold and countless other issues, but schools who have recently been retrofitted/redone get new HVAC/boilers?

I'll be interested in hearing what you find out Melissa.
So I did a little cursory research. Here are some thoughts:

- the BTA III levy has pretty modest amounts for HVAC and yet there are a lot of buildings on this list. Clearly it's clearly a problem and the district decided to take advantage of applying for the grants.

-however the crux of the question is what is "replacing HVAC systems and boilers" versus "replacing HVAC systems and controls". It seems like you would want to replace both.

-also, just as a side note, while I was checking, it seems Leschi got a new HVAC in 2004 but under BTA III is getting another new one. Odd.

- I think the much, much bigger question is - where is the district getting the accompanying $7.5M in capital funds to compliment what the state is giving?

It is quite the shell game and you never quite know where the money goes.
Steve said…
To lendlees re: Lowell:

Could it be that they just don't want to make any facilities investment in a building that needs a complete overhaul? The district tried to close it 2 years ago, and I doubt they'll pour any new money into it beyond the minimum funds necessary to keep the doors open.

At the same time, they won't say they're going to move the 3 programs currently housed at the school (and where are they going to move them?). Maybe this will happen, but until it does, Lowell will continue to live in operational limbo. Unacceptable.
lendlees said…

I totally agree with your analysis. And if you think about the history of the building--it housed the two 'special ed' populations that are required services by law, but the district doesn't want to deal with.

More limbo now for three distinct populations that will bust out of the seams of the building with nowhere to go.
Charlie Mas said…
North-end elementary APP needs to move to the north-end. There shouldn't even be any discussion about this. It can go to McDonald, Lincoln, John Marshall or Wilson-Pacific. Whatever, wherever, but north of the Ship Canal where it belongs.

The general education program at Lowell can go back to T T Minor. There are probably a lot of other places it could go as well. I don't think it could be dispersed among the remaining Washington Middle School service area schools, but maybe it could.

The Low-Incidence Special Education program is trickier to place. There are a number of capital items at Lowell - OT rooms, PT rooms, washroom fixtures, a wheelchair accessible play structure, etc. - that would be expensive to replace or relocate. If the program were to also go to T T Minor it would do a lot to fill up the building and justify re-opening it.

The District could say that the T T Minor building is in better shape, is better-sized, and provides better facility distribution in the neighborhood than Lowell. The fact that they said exactly the opposite two years ago is no impediment. The facts are whatever they claim the facts to be - including the historical facts.

Just the same, I don't think they are holding off on piecemeal improvements at Lowell because they plan a renovation nor because they plan a closure. I think they are holding off on piecemeal improvements at Lowell for the same reason that they always have: screw APP.
Steve said…
I realize that this is a ridiculous question, but I'm going to ask it anyway:

When has a school (parents, teachers, principal, kids) successfully lobbied the district to move to a new location? It seems there are fights against closure, but has a school community simply said "Enough. The physical state of the school is decrepit, and the programs have to move." Has this ever happened? As you mention, for at least the north end APP kids (who don't all come from the surrounding neighborhood), there is likely capacity at other schools north of the Ship Canal.


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