More Facilities Info

It's Labor Day weekend and I decided to labor by reorganizing my upstairs files. Naturally, most of it is SPS information. It's a little overwhelming trying to look through and then decide what to keep. However, at the end, less paper and more organization.

And you know what? You never know what you might find. I've found information that, at the time, was not so important and now, after the Auditor's report, might be quite useful. But all that requires more work before disclosure.

However, I thought I would pass along some info that I've come across to put on your radar as we move towards planning BEX IV.

Having done nearly all the high schools (sorry, RBHS, Sealth and Ingraham; although Sealth just got quite a nice upgrade) and a couple of middle schools, it seems like BEX IV will be heavy on elementary schools. (I do believe the district is likely to do either Eckstein or Whitman or Washington under BEX IV but given the huge amounts we need to spend now on middle schools, I can't believe they could do more than one or two.)

Also, as I mentioned at that thread, the district is talking about doing more cookie-cutter buildings (maybe 3 blueprints and they pick the one that fits the footprint best). It saves a lot of money.

I found this document from March 2007 called Property Management Plan. It was an analysis done to give to the School Board to make recommendations for the recently closed buildings. Open schools are called "essential". Non-in-use buildings in SPS get assigned a label (which changes a bit but I think this is right): interim/emergency, inventory or surplus. (I won't be mentioning surplus/inventory buildings this thread.)

Interim is clearly for buildings to be used while other buildings are being renovated. At the time of this report, they were Lincoln, Boren, Sand Point and McDonald. Obviously, Sand Point and McDonald haven't be used in a long time as interims and now, are reopening as essential buildings. (Another issue to this is that Lincoln is getting really worn down from constant use as an interim. The District will have to pour some more money in there at some point to safely continue its use.)

So I'm guessing that Magnolia and Hughes are our new interims for elementaries except that both are in poor shape.

One interesting note from the report, "Schools that are significantly less than 4 acres (the District's SMP minimum size standard) are considered too small and should be surplused, unless they have an adjacent park which can be used as a playground. Thus the McDonald and MLK, Jr. sites are too small to house a regular program." Oh, so what changed? And, they kept mentioning in this report that McDonald is a likely building for an SBOC move.

The report rightly points out that they need to build bigger and, of course, only at sites that can support that growth. "At most sites those schools can be expanded to 535 seats, which may create substantial additional capacity." So to point out, they will not be building any "small" schools, certainly nothing under 400-450. They also point out that "Schools that remain open and were built prior to 1960 are highly likely to need a renovation by 2030." That's about 57 buildings.

So the schools that this report talks up for renovation are:

NE: Olympic Hills, Rogers and View Ridge (I might have thrown in Laurelhurst.)

NW: Bagley and North Beach

Central: they don't mention anyplace but I might put in a plug for Meany. I hope by the time BEX IV rolls around, the district makes a final and lasting decision on where Nova and SBOC will live if Meany isn't it. Those programs deserve better.

QA/Magnolia: North Queen Anne and Magnolia. (However they note if SBOC moved, then Old Hay would be used and one of those would be declared surplus). I'm not sure what, if anything might be done here under BEX IV. Maybe McClure or Blaine?)

SW: They say this area has too much capacity (but this was before closing Pathfinder's old home). Nothing is suggested here. If I had to put out a name it would be Arbor Heights.

SE: Again, they are discussing life before 2010, so South Shore now has its own building, Orca is in Columbia and we are reopening Rainier View.

One issue to keep in mind is that the entire south end has had more buildings renovated/rebuilt than the north end. It is likely that even with the district trying to be fair to all areas, at the state of facilities right now, they will have to do those buildings that are the most urgent.

I know that Magnolia may be considered an emergency site but Magnolia is pretty far off the beaten path for that purpose according to the district. Maybe John Marshall is now an emergency building? So we only have North Queen Anne, Hughes and Magnolia to be possible interim elementary sites. If they don't use Boren again as an interim, it could be the emergency site for a middle/high school.

If your school is old and rundown, I would seriously consider organizing your PTA to lobby to be on BEX IV. I have a feeling it is going to be a dogfight in figuring out capacity needs versus outright safety and building condition needs. I think most school communities have not been pro-active in this and now that the situation is getting more and more desperate, you might want to act.


seattle citizen said…
Melissa, THANK YOU for laboriously laboring this labor day to CONTINUE to give us detailed, informative information about the Seattle Public Schools district.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
ebaer said…
A quick note - Hughes can't be considered an interim site because it is under a long-term lease. I would imagine that SPS would use any one of several vacant buildings in West Seattle as interim sites if needed. Since all the middle and high schools in the area have been renovated, is there any reason not to sell the Boren building? It is big, expensive and not in great condition. Does anyone see a use for it in the next 20 years?
seattle citizen said…
hmm, ebaer, if the north quadrant is any indicator, maybe it's best to hold onto Boren. Who knows, in ten years WS could get a bulge in demographics, and then where would they be?
Boren is one of the few big buildings left. When I was on C&C, the consultants puzzled over why SPS has so many empty buildings. They just couldn't understand why. But if Lincoln can't be used for awhile (I know I read recently somewhere that the district was worried about its state after near-constant usage over the last 10 years and its neglected state), then Boren is it.

That means unless the district decides to be like most districts and go the route of building on-site with school going (a la Hale), then Boren is the place where anyone from Washington, Whitman or Eckstein would go during renovation. Yes, it is far away but what's the alternative? Again, maybe John Marshall but it has issues as well.

This is the result of decades of neglect - many, many rundown buildings with decaying surplus buildings. We can try to build our way out of this but we simply don't have the money and the time to do it.
biliruben said…
What would be the likely timeline for an elementary to be renovated under BEX IV, if chosen?

Would elementary schools be moved to an interim for a year if they are?
I like for the school increase more facility for student.The renovation have been for the high school and middle school.
Charlie Mas said…
Fairmont Park is now an available building for use as an emergency/interim site in West Seattle. It would be a better choice than Hughes.

Van Asselt is also available and it is a very big building.

My preference would be for the District to renovate Van Asselt and then to move Van Asselt (now at the AAA building) back to its home.

With Van Asselt at the AAA, there are two attendance are elementary schools just three blocks apart. That ain't right.

Then the District could/should do what they should have done at first and move Southshore into the AAA building and move Aki Kurose into the Southshore building. Then they would have the Sharples building (where Aki Kurose is now) available as a large interim/emergency site in the south-end.

I don't know what plans the District has for Wilson/Pacific. That building, along with John Marhall, offers some really intriguing options.

The District really needs to bring north-end elementary APP to the north-end. They could have used McDonald for it, but they told so many contradictory lies that they couldn't find their way clear to it. Both John Marshall and Wilson/Pacific are possibilities.

If the District uses BEX IV money to renovate McDonald or Sand Point, will they demolish the work that they are doing now to get those schools ready for next year? That won't go over well. They did that at Sealth - tore up brand new tennis courts and softball fields when they changed course and put Denny on top of them. It betrayed a grotesque lack of planning.
seattle citizen said…
John Marshall has a "space for rent" sign in front. Perhaps some parent/guardians and other citizens could propose a new program(s) for it, including the north elementary APP.

Is the John Marshall building for sale? Or only in limbo?
bilbiruben, Seattle Schools generally has students move out of the building because it is safer and takes less time than working around a population. Timeline? Hard to say. We'd vote on BEX IV in Feb of 2012. Staff is kind of mysterious about the order of who gets what done when. It also depends on how many projects you take on.

Charlie, good suggestions. They make too much sense and so naturally, no one will listen (except possibly for Fairmont Park - it would be better than Hughes). South Shore (and the New School Foundation) would never give up that building willingly and so therefore, Van Asselt will stay put at AAA (I've heard via Ken B., they have filled the building).

As for Wilson-Pacific, I do wish they would make up their minds. Both John Marshall and Wilson-Pacific are decent locations (yes, I know off Aurora isn't great but it is getting cleaned up and from the "off-the-freeway" perspective, it is decent).

John Marshall is up for rental but I don't think for sale (unless the district is doing it on the qt). I know that condo sales around Green Lake have slowed so maybe the district is hanging on to it for future sale at a better price.
wsnorth said…
I would like to know how they determine remodeling needs. West Seattle is a mess as far as Elementary schools go, though our high and middle schools are - or will be soon - nicely renovated. 5 out of 10 Elementary schools are falling apart and over capacity with portables! Our local Elementary school is 100% over capacity for Kindergarten this year, and almost all had wait lists after open enrollment.
ttln said…
it's not over crowded- they are at functional capacity- over would mean above that amount, which is elastic. ;-)

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