Arbor Heights Elementary School demolition, four weeks in

September 26, 2014 at 11:03 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

As our short Instagram clip shows, the last building semi-standing at the old Arbor Heights Elementary School is getting the wrecking-ball-style treatment right now. It’s been exactly four weeks after the heavy-duty equipment first dug into the buildings there, almost ceremonially, on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day. Now the campus is piled high with rubble:

Once the site clearing is done, the project is expected to stop down from November to February. For a look at the new school that will then be built, check our coverage of the community briefing/Q-A meeting in June.

ADDED: Thanks to Mike R. for the view looking eastward over the full site:

We’ll check this weekend on the other old West Seattle school being demolished to make room for a replacement, Genesee Hill.

Update: Big Seattle Fire response after gas line cut in Arbor Heights; no injuries, repairs under way

September 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

(WSB photo, added)
3:22 PM: Big Seattle Fire callout categorized as “natural gas leak – major” in the 9800 block of 34th SW. More to come.

3:28 PM: Some of the responding units are being dismissed. Crews on scene say it’s a 2-inch line, cut during construction activity.

3:37 PM: Our crew at the scene says Puget Sound Energy has arrived to shut off the gas. It’s a residential construction site. (You can see the excavator behind the truck.) No injuries. The smell – which should dissipate soon – is most noticeable to the north. P.S. Our crew says a TV helicopter has arrived in the area.

4:13 PM: Just in case you live in the area and are wondering what you’ll find when you get home – the SFD response is closed; the gas line is being fixed; SFD has confirmed no injuries, no evacuations.

West Seattle scenes: School-demolition crews move to main buildings at Genesee Hill, Arbor Heights

September 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm | In Arbor Heights, Genesee Hill, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 9 Comments

(UPDATED Wednesday morning with two more views of Arbor Heights)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:50 PM TUESDAY: If you’ve been meaning to go take a look at what’s left of the former Genesee Hill and/or Arbor Heights elementary schools before they’re completely demolished, you’re running out of time. As of this afternoon, main-building teardown is under way at both sites – above, our photo from GH; below, Tim Eannarino shared the photo from AH this morning:

(Also, a few closeup views caught Robin Adams‘ eye.) The new schools to be built on these sites are both scheduled to open in 2016.

ADDED 9:04 AM WEDNESDAY: Thanks to Mike for sharing these next two Arbor Heights photos:

We checked again with the school district and they still don’t expect to settle on the new AHES’s final size until next spring (they could build it for 500 students or 650; the current school, temporarily housed at the Boren Building, is adding a third kindergarten class, so growth is continuing).

West Seattle scene: Dogpaddling at Arbor Heights Swim & Tennis

September 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm | In Arbor Heights, How to help, Pets, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
If one dog playing “fetch” in a pool isn’t cute enough .. how about two?

Tonight was the first of six season-ending sessions in which Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club invites dogs into the pool (which will undergo its annual cleaning before humans go in again next year).

It’s a fundraiser for AHSTC teams. You can buy one-session or all-week admission, 5-7 pm swims nightly through Friday, then 10 am-1 pm Saturday. More info’s in our calendar listing.

When is a teardown not just a teardown? When it’s a salvage operation, too – like Arbor Heights Elementary

September 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm | In Arbor Heights, Environment, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Lots of demolition work around West Seattle this month – and we’ve received some bonus information about one project: With major teardown work at Arbor Heights Elementary starting this week, SODO-based Second Use has spent three days on site “reclaiming materials that still had life in them to divert them from the landfill,” according to outreach coordinator Mary Anne Carter, who shared the photos and adds:

We recovered hundreds of items including slate, trough sinks, porcelain enameled barn lights, fir wall cabinets, fir built in cabinets, stainless steel sinks, and more.

Although the school was built in 1953, many of the fixtures were built in the decades previous and used in other schools before being moved to Arbor Heights. Tags and markings on fixtures listed John Hay School, Fauntleroy Elementary School, and others. Most of the inventory can be viewed on our website, though we are continuing to process items and add new material daily. …

It’s my hope that this provides the community with the opportunity to potentially reconnect with the furnishings of their formative years and glean a better perspective of what happened to the material that the school left behind.

Second Use is not involved with the Genesee Hill school-teardown project, according to Carter (work there also has intensified – here’s video we published on Instagram yesterday).

One more meeting tonight: Seola Pond drainage walk-and-talk

September 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm | In Arbor Heights, Utilities, West Seattle news | No Comments

(2010 WSB photo)
In addition to the meetings and events highlighted earlier in our West Seattle Tuesday preview, we just got word of this from Mike (thank you!) – relating to the area in the photo above, from WSB storm coverage in December 2010:

Learn about drainage in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 6 PM
Meet at corner of 30th Ave SW and SW 104th, on west side of Seola Pond.

Seattle Public Utilities has made commitments to improve drainage in the Arbor Heights area near Seola Pond.

Debbie Harris is project manager: debbie.harris@seattle.gov

West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights Elementary teardown revs up

September 8, 2014 at 10:08 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

While demolition crews did a bit of work at the old Arbor Heights Elementary School site on the Friday before Labor Day, they didn’t start tearing down its buildings in earnest until this morning, starting on the south side of the campus. (Thanks to Elise and Joe for the tips.)

Arbor Heights students and staff are spending this year and next at the Boren Building, shared with K-5 STEM, while the new school is built. Renderings were shown at a community meeting in June, including these:

That same meeting (WSB coverage here) included the project’s two-part timeline; this site work is expected to continue through November, and then a stopdown is planned until the Phase 2 bid is awarded, with the rest of the work to begin in spring.

West Seattle schools: Building demolition begins at Arbor Heights Elementary

August 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Thanks to Scott for the top photo and the tip that building demolition has begun at Arbor Heights Elementary, a milestone for the project to replace the dilapidated old buildings with a brand-new school. We went over and got there just in time to photograph the backhoe doing a little more work on the north side of the southern building before parking for the day:

As reported here on August 20th, the city Hearing Examiner rejected an appeal of the demolition-permit granting. Another appeal was rejected in May; that one involved the ruling that the project didn’t need a full environmental review. Following that first decision, a meeting was held to update the community on the construction plan (WSB coverage here). The timetable shared at that meeting called for demolition to begin in August, which now, technically, it has; it also noted that there would be a pause from November to February, when the second phase of the project would begin, by which time the district would decide if the school would be built to hold up to 500 students, or up to 650. The new school is supposed to open in two years; in the meantime, AHES is sharing the Boren building in North Delridge with the school permanently housed there, K-5 STEM.

Arbor Heights microsurfacing update: New map from SDOT

August 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 8 Comments


(Click image to open full-size PDF version of map)
SDOT is now more than halfway through the microsurfacing work in Arbor Heights (and part of south Fauntleroy), and says there have been some changes along the way (as noticed by at least one commenter on our previous story), so it’s revised the map. From spokesperson Caylen Beaty:

The original map we provided contained some mapping errors, so I’ve attached the updated version. As the work has progressed this week, the contractor has been providing correct information to residents and posting “No Parking” signs at least three days in advance of the work.

The work is on track and we anticipate it will wrap up by next Tuesday, August 26. Our thanks to the Arbor Heights community for their attention and cooperation as we work to maintain the residential streets of Arbor Heights.

The microsurfacing plan was first announced back in January, when SDOT explained that this process is now used instead of chip seal to refresh residential streets.

Decision’s in: Hearing examiner rejects second Arbor Heights Elementary project appeal

August 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

(WSB July photo of awaiting-demolition Arbor Heights Elementary)
The decision is now published for the second appeal related to the Arbor Heights Elementary rebuild, which has had key elements on hold pending the hearing and ruling. City Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner has rejected the appeal by affirming the city decision to allow demolition of the old AHES. Here’s her ruling (PDF), or read it embedded below:

We’re checking with Seattle Public Schools regarding how the project timetable will be affected, now that the decision is in. A separate appeal related to the project was argued and rejected in May.

More road work! Arbor Heights, south Fauntleroy ‘microsurfacing’ begins today

August 18, 2014 at 11:06 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 20 Comments

Another alert from SDOT – the “microsurfacing” work in Arbor Heights (and south Fauntleroy) is under way. You might already have seen the crews doing advance weed-clearing work along the roads in recent days. Here’s a larger map and full info. It’s been seven months since SDOT’s original announcement of this work.

Arbor Heights Elementary: Demolition on hold pending hearing on new appeal

July 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 24 Comments

(WSB Tuesday photo of awaiting-demolition Arbor Heights Elementary)
Three years ago, demolition of the old Denny International Middle School was well under way within a month of the end of the school year. This year, though a month has passed since the last class at Arbor Heights Elementary School, the backhoes aren’t even onsite yet. That’s because the permits haven’t been finalized, since another appeal is awaiting a hearing.

This is separate from the appeal that was argued and rejected in May, challenging the decision that a full environmental review wasn’t needed. This time, the appeal is for the land-use permit itself, and the fact that the demolition permit was approved in the same action. In all, the appeal statement by four area residents and district watchdog Chris Jackinssee it here – lists eight points.

Though a September 15th hearing date was announced by the appeal notice that appeared in this week’s first Land Use Information Bulletin, the city Hearing Examiner’s files now have it scheduled for August 11th. The move was at the request of the district, according to a letter in the online case files, which quotes district staff as saying the extra month would add $70,000 to the project cost.

SPS spokesperson Tom Redman confirms to WSB that appeals for both the Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill projects (the latter has a hearing August 5th, as reported here July 14th) are now pushing back the timeline: “Limited construction activities can be performed on-site, but the bulk of the work cannot commence at either site until we have received MUP [master use permit] approval from the City of Seattle.” He said the district doesn’t know yet if the opening of either new school will be delayed as a result. The new Arbor Heights is scheduled to open in two years, the new Genesee Hill in a year and a half.

P.S. Appeal hearings are open to the public, though only for observation, not for participation/comment. Next month’s August 5th Genesee Hill hearing and August 11th Arbor Heights hearing are both scheduled to start 9 am on those dates in the city Hearing Examiner’s headquarters on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown.

Update: House fire in Arbor Heights blamed on spider-killing attempt

July 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 58 Comments

(WSB photo)
8:33 PM: Firefighters are arriving at a house fire in Arbor Heights near 34th and 102nd (map), reporting black smoke and also that ammunition is going off in the house – so they’ll be fighting it from outside.

(Photo texted by Joe)
8:38 PM: Scanner now indicates they don’t believe there’s more ammunition in the building and they are changing firefighting tactics.

(WSB photo)
8:48 PM: Our crew is at the scene. No word yet on whether anyone’s been hurt. They believe everyone in the house got out safely.

8:58 PM: Just talked again with our crew at the scene. The fire appears to be under control but there are still flare-ups of flames visible here and there. Way too soon to know what caused it.

Above this line, we’ve added a quick Instagram clip – you can see firefighters on the roof and hear the saws they’re using to ventilate the attic.

(WSB photo)
9:18 PM UPDATE: We’ve just talked again with firefighters. The fire began in a bedroom and spread up to the attic. The house has major damage and isn’t inhabitable. One person was inside when it started, and we’re told he got out OK, unhurt. The “ammunition going off” suspicion is now a mystery – we’re told the resident said there had been firearm(s)/ ammunition in there, belonging to a renter who moved out a few weeks ago, so whatever the bangs/pops were in the early going, they now don’t know. SFD’s investigator is en route to work on figuring out how the fire started.

ADDED 11:16 PM: From SFD: “Cause of West Seattle Arbor Heights fire is man using spray paint can & lighter to try and kill spider in the wall. Damage estimate $60k.”

Summertime hunger-fighting: Free meals for kids in West Seattle

June 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Many kids in need avoid going hungry through free/reduced-price meals at school. So what happens in the summertime? The United Way One Million Meals Campaign helps provide free summer meals to kids and teens, and sent word today that they’ll be serving on Sundays, starting THIS Sunday (June 29th), 1-2 pm at Freedom Church (35th/Roxbury). Everyone 18 and under will be served, and kid/teen activities will be offered. UWKC also says you can find other summer-meal sites through this lookup.

Car, motorcycle collide in Arbor Heights

June 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 6 Comments

One person was taken to the hospital by private ambulance after their motorcycle collided with a car in Arbor Heights. It happened at California/104th; the rider’s injuries are not life-threatening, but there was a major medical response, and that plus an unrelated medic response not far away led to many a siren in AH this past hour. Our crew was told at the scene that the woman and child who were in the car are not hurt.

West Seattle power outage: Parts of Arbor Heights, Brace Point

June 24, 2014 at 12:29 am | In Arbor Heights, Utilities, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Outage zone, screengrabbed from City Light map)
12:29 AM: Thanks to Kevin and Jason for initial tips (editor@westseattleblog.com) – the City Light outage map now confirms an outage in Arbor Heights and Brace Point. They both reported an explosion-type sound preceding the power problem (for Jason, it’s out; for Kevin, it flickered). City Light says 134 households are affected and estimates restoration by 3 am (remember, it’s always more of a “guesstimate” at this point).

1:29 AM: The map now blames the outage on “tree” and estimates power back by 9 am.

9 AM NOTE: Jason says in comments that the power returned around 4:45.

One more finale at ‘Original Arbor Heights’: Last crossing

June 20, 2014 at 4:32 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Here in the wee hours of the first full day of summer vacation for thousands of local kids, we have one more scene from the last day of classes, ever, at the “Original Arbor Heights,” as dubbed by our trusty parent correspondent. Also nicknamed, that’s “The Famous Mr. Wilkie” in the crosswalk, last one to enlist the crossing guards’ assistance before the soon-to-be-demolished old school went out of service. Reports our correspondent:

(He is) the heart and soul of The Original Arbor Heights Elementary school. Did you know that he went to kindergarten in the same Room 4 in which he has been teaching? Yup. Known to many, loved by all.

AH will share Boren with STEM for the next two years, while its brand-new school is built on this same campus.

West Seattle schools: Last graduate of ‘Original Arbor Heights’

June 18, 2014 at 5:10 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Thanks to our Arbor Heights Elementary parent correspondent for sharing that photo from today’s 5th-grade graduation ceremony. The final graduate of the last 5th-grade class at “Original Arbor Heights,” as our tipster dubs it, was Max Zuber. The building is scheduled for demolition in late summer or fall, as per the construction schedule laid out at a community meeting two weeks ago. Tomorrow is the last day of classes there, as is the case all around the Seattle Public Schools district.

Another Arbor Heights scene: Westside School’s future home

June 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

While in Arbor Heights, we stopped by the future site of Westside School (WSB sponsor) for a look at the dramatic renovation scene at the former Hillcrest Presbyterian Church. The former sanctuary is basically hollowed out, as you can see, looking over the fence from 34th SW. Westside will spend one more year at its current campus, the former EC Hughes Elementary, leased from Seattle Public Schools, before moving to the new site. Westside’s 2013-2014 school year ended yesterday, and this past week, the school had its first middle-school graduation, having added 6th-8th grades over the past three years. Construction at the new site began just over a month ago.

P.S. We recently asked SPS to reconfirm what happens to Hughes once Westside moves; district spokesperson Teresa Wippel replied, “There are no plans at this point for EC Hughes other than to have it available for emergency use/to hold students when other schools are being remodeled, etc. No plans to lease it to anyone else, either.”

Happening now: Last carnival @ ‘old’ Arbor Heights Elementary

June 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

Until 6 pm, the community’s welcome to join Arbor Heights Elementary students, staff, families at the school carnival – autograph the soon-to-be-demolished building, especially if you’re an alum! Games, food, prizes too.

ADDED 5:30 PM: Thanks to our anonymous parent source for the top photo; we stopped by for these:

The “Angry Birds” toss is on the paved playground that’s seen better days – the new school will include an open field:

A tropical touch:

And a hand-lettered poster with a reminder about the next big event:

That’s Tuesday, 6-8 pm, a community gathering for an official farewell to the old school (though the last day of classes isn’t until June 19th).

New Arbor Heights Elementary: 2-phase construction; no size decision yet

June 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The new Arbor Heights Elementary School will be built in two phases, project managers told community members last night, and remains on track for welcoming students on the first day of school in September 2016.

Not that long ago, principal Christy Collins reminded the ~40 attendees as the meeting began, the new school wasn’t slated to open until 2019. She’s been principal for three years, and that’s how long the discussion about a replacement school has been under way.

Click to read the rest of New Arbor Heights Elementary: 2-phase construction; no size decision yet…

Tonight’s calendar highlight: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC

June 3, 2014 at 10:08 am | In Arbor Heights, Neighborhoods, West Seattle news, Westwood | 1 Comment

Thornton Creek did it – can Roxhill Bog do it too? That’s one of the neighborhood issues on the agenda for today’s featured calendar highlight, the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Live/work in any of those neighborhoods? Go check out WWRHAH at 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). See the agenda in our calendar listing, and the calendar itself has many more events for today/tonight, including nightlife!

You’re invited: Farewell party for ‘old’ Arbor Heights Elementary

May 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

In two weeks – 6-8 pm Tuesday, June 10th – alumni, staff and students past and present, neighbors, everyone’s invited to celebrate Arbor Heights Elementary before the demolition and reconstruction. Scroll through the official invitation:

(If you can’t read it in the window, see it as a PDF here.)

P.S. Before then, if you’re interested in an update on the plan for the new school, here’s our previously published announcement for the district’s June 2nd meeting.

New Arbor Heights Elementary: The appeal decision is in

May 21, 2014 at 9:40 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

No formal environmental review for the new Arbor Heights Elementary School project that’s replacing the crumbling original 65-year-old school. That’s what the district originally had decided, issuing a Determination of Non-Significance; more than two dozen neighbors appealed the decision, arguing their case at a May 8th hearing (WSB coverage here), and now the appeal ruling is in, starting with an introductory letter by Superintendent José Banda:

(If you can’t see the Scribd embed above, here’s the document as a PDF.) If you want to skip ahead, the conclusions of Margaret Klockars, the hearing examiner who handled the case, start on page 7, after a recap of what the district originally decided and the points that were argued. Bottom line: While Klockars agreed that the checklist leading to the original Determination of Non-Significance had a few errors and omissions, she believed the supplemental information provided later by the district showed no major impact in areas of concern from traffic to trees, so the DNS conclusion “was not erroneous.”

SIDE NOTE: As reported here last night, the district has set a community meeting June 2nd for questions/answers/updates on the project, which will start after the school year ends and everything is moved out of the to-be-demolished buildings. AHES will hold classes at the Boren Building for the next two years, with the new school expected to be ready for fall 2016.

New Arbor Heights Elementary: Community update meeting June 2nd

May 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

(Rendering of new Arbor Heights Elementary)
If you’re interested in the new Arbor Heights Elementary School, your next chance to get project updates, and to get questions answered in person, is less than two weeks away. Seattle Public Schools has announced a community meeting for Monday, June 2nd, 6:30-8 pm at the current AHES.

The meeting will be presented by representatives of Seattle Public Schools BEX IV capital projects team and Bassetti Architects, and will include information about the project’s building and site design. You will be able to learn more about the project’s scope of work and construction schedule. You will be able to share comments and ask questions.

Meantime, we’re still awaiting word of a ruling on the appeal of the project’s no-formal-environmental-review-needed decision (here’s our coverage of the May 8th hearing).

No environmental review for new Arbor Heights Elementary? Neighbors’ concerns aired at appeal hearing

May 9, 2014 at 9:00 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 50 Comments

(Rendering of new Arbor Heights Elementary)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

They say they’re not trying to stop it from being built.

But neighbors and others concerned about the new, larger Arbor Heights Elementary School say something is missing from the plan: A full-scale environmental review.

So they appealed the ruling that the project doesn’t need that kind of review, and their appeal led to a hearing that lasted much of the day Thursday in a meeting room at Seattle Public Schools headquarters in SODO.

It brought some surprises – including last-minute district research exploring some of the points for which the challengers said an environmental review was needed before the new school is built on the site of the old one starting this summer.

Appeal hearings don’t result in instant decisions, so a written report will be forthcoming. But here’s how the hearing unfolded:

Click to read the rest of No environmental review for new Arbor Heights Elementary? Neighbors’ concerns aired at appeal hearing…

Update: Fire crews back at twice-burned house in 10000 block of 39th SW

May 7, 2014 at 11:40 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

11:40 AM: A sizable Seattle Fire response has headed back to the 10000 block of 39th SW, scene of two fires at one house in a little more than a week. (update) First crew on scene says “no fire, just smoke” – so they’re putting water on it.

11:52 AM: Our crew on scene says the smoke is mostly coming from the back of the house (added, photo showing new fencing in back):

No flames seen so far, as noted previously.

12:09 PM: For reference – the first fire was on April 29th; second one, early Monday morning. The cause of the first one has yet to be determined; one of the home’s two residents, both said to be in their 70s, was still in the hospital at last report.

4:42 PM: As AG notes in comments, SFD announced this afternoon that overheated wiring caused the original fire on April 29th and that “residual embers” were to blame for the flareups today and two days ago.

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