Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Three weeks from tomorrow, the sprawling Seattle Public Schools campus at 5950 Delridge Way SW will reopen as the new K-5 STEM at Boren elementary.
It’s been boarded up for two years, since the end of Chief Sealth International High School‘s two-year stay.
Now, elementary schoolers are moving in, and crews have been working to “make it a respectable place,” as project manager Jeanette Imanishi puts it.
She was our guide for a tour on Monday, along with district communications specialist Tom Redman. Outside, of course, there’s fresh paint. Even the north-side portables, which won’t be used but are staying on the site, are getting a new coat.
Inside, the floors are shining:
Read on to see the rest of our photo tour – from the classrooms to the playground, and beyond:
Since some retrofits have been done over the years of Boren serving as temporary housing for other schools, much of the work needed this time around is cosmetic, Imanishi explained – gardeners have worked on the trees and shrubs around the school, and in the courtyards:
Inside much of the school, the aforementioned flooring represents one of the biggest jobs: Old asbestos-containing floor tile has been removed, and the original concrete flooring has been revealed, and polished. Toward the north end, some of that work is still being wrapped up.
The floors that didn’t have asbestos tile were not pulled up – just cleaned, like in this classroom.
(There’s new carpeting in some rooms.) Then there’s new interior paint; the hallways, you’ll notice, are color-coded:
They will help students remember which areas are which. Green leads to the lunchroom, right now empty and cavernous:
The Boren kitchen was once the regional production kitchen for schools on this side of town, we’re told. Some of what it has is overkill for the K-5 STEM school, so about the only change expected in the kitchen is the arrival of a freezer. Speaking of overkill, the elementary school only needs about half the building’s 125,000 square feet, so corridors leading to the areas that won’t be used are being partitioned off (with emergency/fire exits, of course):
Now to the classrooms, labs, and library:
That’s the library, to which the orange/red hall leads:
Here’s a classroom, getting its finishing touches:
Every classroom will have a smartboard, we’re reminded. Here’s another classroom:
The preschoolers’ room still has its former cubbies:
Inside a past and future science-lab room:
Note the windows – a feature in so many of the Boren rooms, built around multiple courtyards:
In the computer-lab-to-be, outlets are ready and waiting:
And here’s a workroom the teachers will use:
Imanishi says the mini-cubes will be going away.
Equipment is on the way for two play areas – a small one outside for students at the preschool that’ll be on site; it’s planned in a courtyard:
And the other playground will be south of the main building, where the two existing portables, we’re told, will be moved somewhere else:
The new school also will use the gymnasium, which currently still holds some of the furniture and accessories waiting to be moved into classrooms.
So when does the staff move in? Principal Dr. Shannon McKinney was expected to start moving in any day now. Other staffers are eager to start fixing up their classrooms, but they aren’t likely to be in before next week, says Imanishi – one of the most prominent features out front remains a dumpster:
And mementos of past occupants can still be found here and there – note the name on this site map:
As this $600,000 project wraps up, we ask project manager Imanishi what else she is working on. Right now, she’s also leading the team working to reopen McDonald Elementary. On her horizon – the renovation of Fairmount Park Elementary, expected to reopen in West Seattle within the next few years, shuttered for five years, and getting a new roof right now, because, she says, the old one couldn’t wait any longer to be replaced.
But in the meantime, Boren is getting ready for September 5th. We asked SPS how many students are enrolled; no final count yet, the district says, but the building is being made ready to hold up to 250.