By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After our report on Monday night’s Seattle Public Schools levy briefing in West Seattle, a commenter asked a key question: Since the district is saying it plans to reopen E.C. Hughes Elementary (7740 34th SW), in part with money from one of those levies, why isn’t it shown in the district boundaries that are now drawn up through 2020?
Today, we got the answer: “We are considering moving the Roxhill Elementary School program to the E.C. Hughes building,” district spokesperson Tom Redman told WSB today.
This has been suggested before, but it raised capacity questions, as Hughes – closed by SPS in 1989, used as an interim/emergency building until Westside School (WSB sponsor) occupied it as a tenant for the past five years – was built to hold about 300 students. Roxhill’s most-recent enrollment estimate is approaching 400. But if the levy plan – augmented with a state grant – goes forward, the idea is to not just reopen Hughes but also to expand it to a capacity of 550.
The Roxhill building is in poor shape, to say the least, and there was a proposal just three years ago to get the “program” out of the building. At that time, the proposal was to merge it with Arbor Heights Elementary in the expanded AHES that’s now under construction. When that was floated during early discussions of the BEX IV levy, both schools’ principals were taken by surprise. But then-Roxhill principal Carmela Dellino said at the time that she had been talking with School Board member Marty McLaren about a different idea – moving Roxhill to Hughes.
Various discussions ensued but in the end, the Roxhill-AH idea went nowhere, and some were surprised that Roxhill didn’t make the preliminary project list for this new BTA IV levy. The idea of moving its program to an expanded, reopened Hughes apparently is the explanation for why it didn’t.
So what would happen to Roxhill’s campus at 30th/Roxbury? “The future use of the Roxhill building has yet to be determined,” Redman told us.
At the Monday night briefing, district officials said the target date for reopening Hughes is fall 2018; so far, no set date for this to come before the board, aside from the BTA IV levy language needing to be finalized, and that’s likely where more details would emerge. If you have a comment or question, Redman says you can e-mail him, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be following up on all this in the days ahead.