West Seattle, Washington
Big crowd tonight for the ribboncutting celebration at Summit Atlas, West Seattle’s first charter school, about to start classes inside a renovated – and soon to be expanded – ex-church/ex-supermarket at 9601 35th SW. The school is starting with sixth and ninth graders, adding a middle- and high-school grade each year until it’s a full 6th-through-12th campus; its soon-to-be-students were invited to help cut the ribbon tonight (our video above pans along the line).
By the time we toured the school last month, almost 200 students were enrolled. As with other charter schools in our state, this one receives public funding and does not charge tuition; it’s leasing the building and site from Washington Charter Schools Development, a donation-funded nonprofit that bought it for $4.75 million from its former owner, Freedom Church/Jesus Center, which subsequently bought and moved to a new campus in Skyway. We first reported on the charter-school plan in early 2015, after discovering it in city permit files. When the state approved Summit’s plan in August 2015, the plan was for it to open in fall 2016, but the court/legislative fight over funding charter schools led to a one-year delay.
Classes at Summit Atlas start 8:15 am Monday for ninth-graders, same time Tuesday for sixth-graders. This is the third school in Arbor Heights, joining Arbor Heights Elementary – which will start its second year in its new building next month – and Westside School (WSB sponsor), which is heading into its third year at its AH campus.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Classes start August 21st at the former supermarket and church that is becoming West Seattle’s first charter school, Summit Atlas.
Today – six months after a ceremonial groundbreaking kicked off extensive remodeling, and days before work begins on an addition – we got our first look inside, with a tour that included future students and their families.
It’s been two and a half years since we broke the news of the charter-middle-and-high-school plan for the property at 9601 35th SW (southwest corner of 35th/Roxbury), discovering an early-stage proposal in city permit-application files.
Former owners Freedom Church/Jesus Center sold the site in 2015 to Washington Charter School Development for $4.75 million. WCSD is the regional branch of a California-based company that specializes in building schools for charter firms like Summit (also California-based) – this is their fourth in Washington, all repurposing existing buildings, WCSD’s James Heugas (a West Seattle resident) noted after today’s tour. (We got a look inside one of the others, Summit Sierra in the International District, a year ago.)
But before we show you what’s been done inside and what’s about to happen outside, some updates:
That’s the photo an Arbor Heights resident sent earlier today, wondering why their tap water was discolored. First thing to do if this happens to you: Call the Seattle Public Utilities hotline at 206-386-1800. We suspected it might have been related to hydrant testing, since Seattle Fire had tweeted this back on Friday:
Station 37 firefighters are out testing fire hydrants along 35th Avenue SW today. Join in by checking your home smoke alarms today. pic.twitter.com/ZBvMvYUJSJ
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) June 23, 2017
And that indeed is what the resident was told. But there could be other causes, so they want to hear from you any time there’s something unusual with your water supply.
Toplines from tonight’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting:
HALA REZONING: The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda is expected to be published Thursday. That’s what WWRHAH heard tonight from Morgan Community Association‘s Cindi Barker, who was on the original city-appointed HALA focus group and has been helping educate other community advocates about land-use issues including this one. With the draft EIS coming out this week, the comment period will continue into late June. She was asked if there’s talk of a District 1-wide response to HALA MHA, but so far individual groups are pursuing individual responses related to how it might affect their neighborhoods – MoCA for example is pursuing a comprehensive-plan amendment and is asking the city to engage in a full neighborhood-planning process, given the conflicts between MHA and the MJ neighborhood plan.
ROXHILL BOG: WWRHAH continues trying to get the city to address hydrology issues that have compromised the bog. Rory Denovan wrote to Seattle Parks but said the response so far wasn’t helpful. Meantime, a celebration of Roxhill Bog is planned 11 am-3 pm June 17th, with information and activities.
ROXBURY RECHANNELIZATION: As reported here earlier in the day, SDOT is floating further rechannelization options for SW Roxbury in connection with the 2019-or-so repaving between 16th SW and 35th SW. WWRHAH is concerned about the possibility that most of the center turn lane will be removed. They’re considering asking SDOT for data on the lane’s usage.
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said car prowls in the WWRHAH-covered area are down by about 50 percent from this time last year. Residential burglaries are down too. Shoplifting is up, and that figures heavily into stats for the area, because of Westwood Village.
WHAT’S NEXT: While WWRHAH won’t have its regular first-Tuesday meeting in July, since that’s Independence Day this year, they’ll likely have a special meeting just before or after that to talk about a response to the forthcoming HALA draft EIS.
One more reminder before the weekend begins:
If you have questions or comments about the proposed rezoning for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the city’s HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda) plan, you’ll want to start your Saturday at Westside School (10404 34th SW; WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights, where various city departments are teaming up for an open house, 10 am-noon. HALA MHA and how it would affect West Seattle and South Park (see the interactive map here) is at centerstage – with something new, as we reported earlier this week – but other city departments will be there too, with information about a variety of projects. It’s an informal meeting, like the one back in December – but much more room this time! – so you can just drop in during that 2-hour window.
P.S. The city has had workshops about the HALA MHA proposals in all five of the West Seattle/South Park Urban Village areas. It’s posted most of the presentations and summaries on this page if you want to review them before the open house; while the Morgan Junction feedback summaries still aren’t there, two months after the final workshop, they were just sent to the Morgan Community Association, whose president Deb Barker forwarded it to us – see the documents here, here, and here.
The big news from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting goes with the notebook pictured above: It’s full of contacts, cards, agendas, and other documents gathered by Amanda Kay Helmick, who has stepped down after four years of leadership with the group. Mat McBride is with her in our next photo – the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair who helped shepherd WWRHAH into existence:
(Here’s our report on WWRHAH’s first meeting in February 2013.) Eric Iwamoto has co-chaired WWRHAH with Helmick recently, and Kim Barnes has taken on a major role, especially regarding the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village’s destiny with HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, and other land-use issues, but the group hasn’t yet decided its leadership path forward. They’ll talk about it next month – when the major topic is expected to be the HALA MHA draft Environmental Impact Statement, due out soon – and they’re also planning a door-to-door campaign to reach people who might not have heard about WWRHAH.
Along with HALA, another major issue is how – whether – the future Delridge RapidRide H (Route 120 is converting in 2020) will relate to/engage with the area. Helmick said she had been trying to reach Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office and SDOT to get some key questions answered and so far had nothing but what she called “radio silence.” Here’s what she had sent:
At the WWRHAH meeting on Tuesday, our group made it very clear to SDOT that they needed to clarify their role in upgrading the 120. Specifically, SDOT needs to clarify whether it is planning the route, ie; removing / consolidating stops, or working on the pavement, roadway and pedestrian improvements.
Therese Casper from SDOT acknowledged the need for collaboration between SDOT and Metro on the routing issue. Metro has a known process for surveying their riders to find out where they are going, how far they have to walk, etc. Doug Johnson of Metro, who was at the meeting, acknowledged that is has been several years since a 120 survey was taken. We would like see SDOT start the collaboration by requesting Metro have the survey done before the design phase begins.
We also cannot stress enough the need for SDOT to consider the HALA/MHA upzone proposals in the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village. Currently, the 120 does not run through the heart of the Westwood Highland Park Urban Village. The folks in the Highland Park are cut off from bus service because of this, and the upgrade does nothing to rectify that. Comparably, the C Line, runs along California Ave SW specifically because of the Urban Village instead of taking the faster route along Fauntleroy Way.
Lastly, without significant attention paid to improving the ingress/egress to the peninsula, it doesn’t matter how fast you can get from Roxbury to the bridge. The City must find a way to improve this situation.
WWRHAH has been working on issues surrounding Metro and the impacts of bus service to the community for 4 years. We have seen very little in the way of solutions for our area, but we see the Move Seattle Levy as an opportunity to do something amazing that will improve mobility, connectivity and livability for an area that is under served.
Also at last night’s WWRHAH meeting:
CRIME UPDATE: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith said Westwood Village is still having shoplifting issues, and the precinct continues to work with management to get some structure in place that will allow police and businesses to work more efficiently in tackling the project.
COUNCIL CANDIDATE: City Council Position 8 candidate Dr. Hisam Goueli came to the WWRHAH meeting, mostly to listen to and learn about the area’s issues.
Transportation was front and center. Among other topics – Dr. Goueli mentioned he’s a doctor, and promptly was informed that West Seattle is without a hospital. He’s one of 10 candidates currently in the running for the citywide position that Councilmember Tim Burgess currently holds but is not seeking to keep.
WWRHAH needs you more than ever – and you’ll find them at 6:15 pm first Tuesdays in the upstairs meeting room at Southwest Library, 35th SW/SW Henderson.
Just announced by Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights:
Westside School will once again open its doors to three- and four-year-olds for a half- and full-day preschool program for the fall of 2017. Expanding upon our current pre-kindergarten program, we will offer emergent curriculum focused on experiential learning and inspired by a variety of teaching practices. Preschool students will have access to many of our specialists, such as visual art, performing arts, physical education, and world languages.
Great early-childhood education has been a hallmark of Westside School since its founding in 1981 and we are thrilled to announce the return of our preschool after a several-year hiatus. We encourage families to join us for our Preschool Preview or a tour.
Westside School is now accepting applications for preschool and other grades (depending on availability) for the fall 2017. For more information, please contact Ted Holmes in our Office of Admission, email@example.com or 206.932.2511.
Tuesday, May 9: Preschool Preview, 10:00 to 11:00 am. Meet the preschool teachers and learn about the program in detail. Parents and guardians only, please.
Tuesday, May 23, Student Observation, 10:00 to 11:00 am. We will meet prospective students in a short observation session.
Tours for all grades: Available upon request: 206.932.2511
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We changed a lot.”
That’s how architect Jonathan Lemons described what’s happened since the first meeting for the second project that went before the Southwest Design Review Board tonight – a nine-unit proposal for the ex-church site at 4220 SW 100th in Arbor Heights,
SWDRB members present for this hearing were chair Matt Zinski, Don Caffrey, Alexandra Moravec, and fill-in Robin Murphy (a former board member). The project’s assigned city planner, Tami Garrett, was on hand too.
You can see the design packet prepared for tonight’s meeting here, and/or embedded below:
This was a second round of Early Design Guidance, as ordered at the conclusion of the project’s first review back in January (WSB coverage here). That means it’s the phase where the focus is on massing – size, shape, placement on the site – rather than appearance details.
Architect Lemons opened the meeting, per the standard format:
3:32 PM: Big Seattle Fire “heavy rescue” response is on the way to 35th SW/SW 108th in Arbor Heights. More to come.
3:36 PM: Per scanner, the person in the vehicle is OK and the response is being downsized.
3:48 PM: SFD is also at the scene of another Arbor Heights crash, 39th/98th, and we’ll have our crew check on that one too.
4 PM: Thanks to Brent Lindblom for sending a photo from 35th/108th, added above. (He talked to the driver before authorities arrived and says, “He apparently had a dizzy spell and hit the light post.”) Our crew also has briefly stopped there and verified that the driver was not hurt; the road will be clear once the truck is towed. We’re on the way now to the other crash scene.
4:10 PM: Two cars collided at 39th/98th, and a woman had to be extricated from the Toyota in the photo above, we’ve been told at the scene. She was taken to a hospital by private ambulance.
While the transformation of Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line is three years away, major decisions are being made now, and this is the time to bring up concerns to SDOT and Metro, both leading the project because city dollars are helping pay for it. Since the new planning phase revved up last month, the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSB coverage here) and Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (WSB coverage here) have hosted discussions/briefings. And this week, it’s the centerpiece of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council agenda (6:15 pm Tuesday, Southwest Library). The WWRHAH agenda says the discussion with SDOT/Metro reps will include “mobility issues surrounding the Westwood Village ‘transit hub’ and the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village.” All are welcome; the library’s on the southeast corner of 35th SW and SW Henderson.
Three stretches of West Seattle streets are due for new sidewalks this year, as shown on the map above, made public as Mayor Murray spotlighted the city’s updated Pedestrian Master Plan today.
*35th SW in Arbor Heights between 100th and 106th adds to the sidewalks built north of there 5 years ago
*Arbor Heights also will get a block of sidewalk along SW 104th between 35th and 36th, just east of AH Elementary
*In Delridge, sidewalks are on the way to SW Orchard between Myrtle and Dumar
Today’s full announcement says the mayor is sending the plan to City Council later this week. If you’d like to look into the future to see where future work might be focused, the “priority investment network” map for our area starts on page 60 of the full Pedestrian Master Plan.
While the official notices are not yet out, the city has penciled in a date for the Southwest Design Review Board‘s next look at two local projects of note. Both are now on the SWDRB calendar for Thursday, April 20th:
4754 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: This Triangle project on the site of a former pawn shop (and the parking lot to its north) is proposed for 108 apartments, 10 live-work units, and 107 offstreet-parking spaces. The review set for 6:30 pm on April 20th is the second and potentially final one for this project; here’s our report on the first one last August.
4220 SW 100TH: This Arbor Heights project proposing 9 three-story live-work units and 8 offstreet-parking spaces on the site of a former church is set for the 8 pm spot on April 20th. After the board took its first look at the project in January (WSB coverage here), it ordered a second round of Early Design Guidance – the stage in which size/shape comprise much of the discussion – so that’s what’ll be happening.
The “design packets” for these reviews – both happening at the Senior Center of West Seattle, the SWDRB’s regular venue in recent years – aren’t out yet; we’ll publish followups when they are.
(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from March 2014)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been three years since the then-fledgling Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council put out a call for help with the issues threatening Roxhill Bog, historic headwaters for Longfellow Creek. The bog had been a community concern for years before that, and underwent some restoration, but needs help beyond what community stewardship and work parties can offer. That was one of the topics brought up at WWRHAH’s meeting last night when City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – in her second year in office – sat down for a conversation, the centerpiece of a meeting that touched on other topics too: Read More
As announced at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting (WSB coverage here), West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold will be the guest at March’s meeting, the just-released agenda confirms. All are welcome at the meeting, which is one week from tonight – Tuesday, March 7th, 6:15 pm at Southwest Library (35th SW/SW Henderson).
Tuesday night was not much of a night for meeting-going, with slush and ice still on the roads, but hardy executive-board members Amanda Kay Helmick, Eric Iwamoto, and Kim Barnes were at the Southwest Library for February’s meeting of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, as were guests Lt. Ron Smith of the Southwest Precinct and Jordan Lowe from startup Josephine.com. Over the course of an hour, here are the toplines of what they talked about:
SOUTHWEST PRECINCT UPDATES: Lt. Smith said the Parks Department was cutting more vegetation by the Roxhill Park bus stop earlier in the day, to increase visibility to reduce crime and other problems. (Helmick mentioned that Metro is getting close to permits for the long-requested lighting alongside the park and is now projecting installation in March.) Businesses in the area are contacting police more often about problems. Then, area crime stats – “a huge increase in vehicle thefts” lately, especially Arbor Heights, Lt. Smith said. Six more than the area had seen by this time last year. But they’ve been making arrests, too. And car prowls are down, as are residential burglaries and robberies. So far this year, there’s been one non-residential burglary in the area, compared to none last year.
HALA REZONING: Barnes has been birddogging this and says that because turnout was low for November’s little-publicized Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda-related Community Design Workshop for the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village meeting was so anemic, the city Office of Planning and Community Development has offered to have another meeting for this area. It’ll be March 1st at Highland Park Improvement Club, start time TBA. They’ll go over notes from the November meeting and get into more details about how to provide community feedback on the proposed rezoning.
JOSEPHINE.COM: Jordan Lowe from Mount Baker was an invited guest to talk about this startup, which “allows home cooks to sell food to their neighbors.” He is one of those cooks and said he uses it as supplementary income. “I pick what I want to cook, how much I want to charge, put it on the website, people come and pick it up. … Over the last couple months we’ve been growing a lot in Seattle.” All cooks need to have a food handler’s permit, he said, and the company pays for it if necessary; they also check out the cooks’ kitchens. He went into some of the details. So far, West Seattle has “three or four people” who are going through the application process. Yes, there’s a catch – “we operate in a gray area,” as Lowe put it when we asked – the meals have to technically be considered “events” by health authorities rather than people making and selling food for purchase. The company started in California and expanded to Portland and Seattle.
NEXT WWRHAH MEETING: Councilmember Lisa Herbold is scheduled to be at the March WWRHAH meeting. The discussion of the group’s direction also has been moved to that meeting (6:15 pm, Tuesday, March 7th, Southwest Library, 35th SW/SW Henderson).
Tonight’s ceremonial “groundbreaking” for West Seattle’s first charter school, Summit Atlas, happened indoors. That’s where the first phase of work to convert the former church/supermarket site at 9601 35th SW will happen – starting next week, according to Summit officials.
It’s been two years since we broke the news that this school was on the way, after discovering an early-stage plan in city files. Tonight, Summit displayed renderings of how the campus will look once they’ve added Phase II, an addition so there’s eventually room for full sixth through 12th grades:
Right now, they have about 125 applicants, split between the sixth and ninth grades with which Summit Atlas will be launched in August, Summit officials told us tonight. They’re accepting applications through March 10th, with a lottery set for the next day if they have more applicants than spaces (they had told us last summer they expected to launch with about 100 students in each of those two grades). The school’s executive director (principal) is Katie Bubalo:
We introduced you to Bubalo in this story last August, when the school year began at Summit Sierra in the ID, one of the two schools Summit (based in California) has already opened in Western Washington. Summit told us that the changes made to their building there are similar to what they plan here. A Summit Sierra 9th grader, Jayla Foster, spoke at tonight’s event:
She said she hopes to become a doctor, and appreciates the “personal attention” the school offers.
Summit Atlas originally was slated to open in fall of last year, but was pushed back a year amid the battle over state funding for charter schools. While a bill passed to provide money from a lottery-related source, charter opponents went to court again and that suit hasn’t been resolved yet. Charters also have support from donors such as those funding the organization that bought and is fixing up the 35th/Roxbury site for Summit Atlas.
The heart of the season for student-benefiting dinner/auctions is approaching, and Arbor Heights Elementary PTA asked us to share their invitation for you to help by attending “Mission: Possible” – 5:30-10 pm Friday, March 10th, at The Hall at Fauntleroy. Tickets are available now – buy yours here; find out more about the event here. Their message: “Please accept this mission and support our community!”
(Have a benefit, PTA meeting, or other event coming up? We can include it in our calendar if you e-mail the info to firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!)
For everyone who asked about the Arbor Heights police search early this morning – officers were gone by the time we got there in search of information, but we’ve just obtained details from the report, via SPD media relations. Around 6 am, a call about a car prowl in progress brought officers to the 3500 block of SW 112th. “Two car prowlers were said to have been chased off by one of the two victims,” Det. Mark Jamieson tells us. A K-9 team tracked the suspects to a nearby driveway, hiding “inbetween cars.” One got away; the other, a 28-year-old man, was arrested for investigation of car prowling and trespass.
4:57 PM: A sizable Seattle Fire Department response is arriving in the 10200 block of 38th SW [map] in Arbor Heights for a possible house fire. First crews are not seeing anything, though. We’re on our way and will be updating.
5 PM: SFD crews have radioed that this was a kitchen fire and is now out, so many of the units are being canceled.
5:06 PM: Our crew on scene confirms this. Firefighters say it was a grease fire and the resident(s) extinguished it. No significant damage, no injuries.
9:58 AM: Though much of the discussion of possible Inauguration Day student walkouts has focused on Seattle Public Schools, the first walkout of the day turned out to be from an independent school. A tip from a parent (thank you!) led us to Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights, where some of the preK-8 school’s older students walked out at 9 am, heading along 35th SW to SW Roxbury, then east for a bit and back to the school. More photos later.
ADDED 11:59 AM: Two more photos:
According to a letter sent to Westside families (shared with us by parents), middle-school students approached teachers and administrators yesterday with their plan for a demonstration. Here is an image of the letter – we are asking the school for a copy:
Also see comments below for explanations from students.
No, it’s not a water break. Your neighbor Joe Szilagyi already inquired with Seattle Public Utilities and shares what he found out:
We had SPU out in the mid block the past two days on 32nd between 97th and 100th cleaning sewers and they had to tap the fire hydrant heavily today to finish the job — all the water is very brown SPU told us approximately from 97th to 100th on 32nd, *maybe* adjacent blocks. It should be fine tomorrow morning sometime if no one uses the water, more usage slows the sediment settling. They said if it’s still brown tomorrow for people to call SPU.
The number to call would be the one we’ve published many times – the one Joe used, too – 206-386-1800.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the first time in months, the Southwest Design Review Board had a full house – this time for the first look (aka “Early Design Guidance”) at nine live-work units proposed at 4220 SW 100th in Arbor Heights.
At meeting’s end, they told the project team to come back for a second round of Early Design Guidance, after an intense hour and a half of comments, questions, and concerns.
The project’s assigned city planner Tami Garrett asked if anyone had questions before the meeting – and they did. About parking, and even about who the board members were and how they were appointed. (Like the city’s other DRBs, they are volunteers, appointed by the City Council. When there’s an opening, it’s announced publicly, with a call for applications.)
Three were present – Matt Zinski as chair, with Robin Murphy (a fill-in and former member) and Alexandra Moravec.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded: Read More
Last week, we brought you an update on the plans for remodeling and addition work at the ex-church/ex-supermarket at 9601 35th SW that is set to become charter school Summit Atlas this fall. As mentioned in our update, the formal land-use-permit application is now on file with the city, and that meant a new public-comment period would soon begin. Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin brought the official notice – see it here. If you’re interested in commenting, here’s how. The permit is required for the second phase of the project, involving a two-story addition to make more space for the school; work is expected to start soon on the first phase, which mostly involves interior remodeling of the existing building. (Our report from last August included a look at a building elsewhere in the city that the charter company already has remodeled, telling us the plan for use of the Arbor Heights space is similar.) Deadline for comments, meantime, is January 18th.