With the future of the now-vacant ex-Genesee Hill Elementary School building one of their area’s hottest topics, the new Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council had Seattle School Board rep Steve Sundquist on its first-ever general-meeting agenda. By the time he spoke, about 50 people were at the meeting, held at West Side Presbyterian Church. And before it ended, the group had elected its first official slate of officers. Toplines after the jump:
Leading the new council after tonight’s elections are president Dick Miller, vice president Mary Fleck, secretary Carol Vincent, and treasurer Anthony Ogle. Before Sundquist spoke, Fleck said she had been speaking to Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle reps regarding the school site, closed again when Pathfinder K-8 moved to the Cooper campus on PIgeon Point last fall.
As noted here earlier, no one came forward to seek a lease for the property when SPS invited proposals earlier this year; with that, Fleck said, its status is somewhat in limbo. Could it reopen as a school sometime? She said she had researched that, and demographics would have to show a major uptick in the population of school-aged children.
When it was his turn, Sundquist cautioned that his role as a school-board member is more about policy than property, but promised to try to answer what he could. If issues arose regarding the campus’s condition, he said, there are certain people who can be contacted in the district, and he provided key phone numbers to GSNC president Dick Miller, in case neighbors needed to report something. He reiterated that the school site is not for sale. Had developers talked to the district about the site? he was asked. Sundquist didn’t have an answer for that, but said the district is holding onto the property in case it’s needed in the future – right now, he offered, the north West Seattle elementary schools are all at full capacity, which means there could be a future need for “inventoried” school sites like Genesee Hill. (Also in inventory are Fairmount Park Elementary, for whom the district also did not receive a lease proposal, and EC Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights, which as reported here has been leased to private Westside School, which plans to move in this fall.)
Back to the Genesee Hill site – how about using its garden space and open fields? Sundquist was asked. The neighborhood is welcome, he said, as long as general rules are followed – like no dogs and no drinking.
Other questions for him included security and litter issues regarding the campus, and he reminded everyone that he had provided key district numbers to the GSNC president, so don’t be afraid to call.
President Miller then said the next step would be to form action groups to focus on the school and its site; signup sheets went around (asking for volunteers in other action groups dealing with issues such as emergency preparedness (a topic that was also on tonight’s agenda).
Want to get involved with the new group? Wondering if you live in its boundaries? Check out the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council’s website at gsnc.wordpress.com – there’s a variety of links.