West Seattle Blog... » Arbor Heights http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:14:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle schools: Building demolition begins at Arbor Heights Elementary http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-schools-building-demolition-begins-at-arbor-heights-elementary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-schools-building-demolition-begins-at-arbor-heights-elementary/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:54:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284034

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.

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Arbor Heights microsurfacing update: New map from SDOT http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/arbor-heights-microsurfacing-update-new-map-from-sdot/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/arbor-heights-microsurfacing-update-new-map-from-sdot/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:28:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283295

(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.

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Decision’s in: Hearing examiner rejects second Arbor Heights Elementary project appeal http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/decisions-in-hearing-examiner-rejects-second-arbor-heights-elementary-project-appeal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/decisions-in-hearing-examiner-rejects-second-arbor-heights-elementary-project-appeal/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:13:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283077

(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.

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More road work! Arbor Heights, south Fauntleroy ‘microsurfacing’ begins today http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/and-more-road-work-arbor-heights-microsurfacing-begins-today/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/and-more-road-work-arbor-heights-microsurfacing-begins-today/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:06:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282901

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.

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Arbor Heights Elementary: Demolition on hold pending hearing on new appeal http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/new-arbor-heights-elementary-old-schools-demolition-on-hold-pending-hearing-on-new-appeal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/new-arbor-heights-elementary-old-schools-demolition-on-hold-pending-hearing-on-new-appeal/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:52:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280319

(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.

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Update: House fire in Arbor Heights blamed on spider-killing attempt http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/fire-call-in-arbor-heights-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/fire-call-in-arbor-heights-2/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 03:33:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=279503

(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.”

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Summertime hunger-fighting: Free meals for kids in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/summertime-hunger-fighting-free-meals-for-kids/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/summertime-hunger-fighting-free-meals-for-kids/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 23:41:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277696 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.

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Car, motorcycle collide in Arbor Heights http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/car-motorcycle-collide-in-arbor-heights/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/car-motorcycle-collide-in-arbor-heights/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:42:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277586 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.

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West Seattle power outage: Parts of Arbor Heights, Brace Point http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-power-outage-north-arbor-heights-brace-point/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-power-outage-north-arbor-heights-brace-point/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 07:29:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277338

(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.

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One more finale at ‘Original Arbor Heights’: Last crossing http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/one-more-finale-at-original-arbor-heights-last-crossing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/one-more-finale-at-original-arbor-heights-last-crossing/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:32:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276971

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.

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West Seattle schools: Last graduate of ‘Original Arbor Heights’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-schools-last-graduate-of-original-arbor-heights/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-schools-last-graduate-of-original-arbor-heights/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 00:10:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276839

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.

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Another Arbor Heights scene: Westside School’s future home http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-in-arbor-heights-westside-schools-future-home/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/also-in-arbor-heights-westside-schools-future-home/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 01:24:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275853

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.”

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Happening now: Last carnival @ ‘old’ Arbor Heights Elementary http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-last-carnival-old-arbor-heights-elementary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/happening-now-last-carnival-old-arbor-heights-elementary/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 23:14:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275841

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).

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New Arbor Heights Elementary: 2-phase construction; no size decision yet http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/new-arbor-heights-elementary-2-phase-construction-no-size-decision-yet/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/new-arbor-heights-elementary-2-phase-construction-no-size-decision-yet/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 02:38:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275321

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.

The school had been deteriorating since long before then, including, she recalled, climate-control problems that notoriously led to children wearing mittens in class. She spoke of the journey that led to an “environmentally friendly” design, “much greener than we presently have.” The new school, she said, will also be emblematic of an “environmental STEM school,” the curriculum that AHES is phasing in – “a school that is not only fiscally responsible but really honoring the children who will be coming through the school in the next 50 years.”

As Collins handed the meeting off to the rest of the project team, from the district and Bassetti Architects, the spectre of the recent challenge to the district’s “no formal environmental needed” ruling, a challenge rejected by a district hearing examiner, was evident in some of their key points. Concerns remain, attendees were reminded before the meeting, when one of the appellants circulated a letter about continuing concerns regarding safety and traffic.

The meeting conditions were a little challenged – the projection screen on the stage in the school cafeteria was difficult to see in the early-evening sunshine blazing through the west-facing windows – but presenters attempted to improvise, removing renderings from easels on the side of the room and holding them up as supplementary visual aids.

From “guiding principles” of the school design, a key intent: “Safe, secure, welcoming,” with covered entries, as well as energy efficiency and features that “(enhance) the school’s role as a beacon for the community.” He spoke of evolving technology and research into best practices, so that the school could be modernized to work with advances in both those fields, and better maximizing the relatively small site, removing the central school building from its current sunken position – right now, there’s an 8-foot drop from street to school entrance, and it will be 3 feet after the new school is built.

(New site plan, above; aerial of current school, below)

The architects showed the school’s current placement on the site, with slopes at both ends, and a culvert that sends water coursing through its heart, noting that will be moved as part of the construction. The bus loading and unloading will circulate on SW 105th. (Update: We are informed that statement made at the meeting was in error, and that the bus zone will be on 104th.)

Curbs on both 104th and 105th will be upgraded, she said, and – in response to a question – added that the upgrades include sidewalks along both sides of the school, as required by the city – storm drainage improvements and street-tree addition, too.

The main floor of the school building will be connected to 105th, they said. There will be good daylighting into the classrooms, with north-south windows. There will be a learning commons with all classrooms having access.

They showed the exterior of the new school from various perspectives. The library will serve as a “beacon” with lights – visible from the northeast – saying the school’s open. The three-story section of the school will be visible from the southwest, the “learning” portion of the school.

On the southwest side, there is a “child care” area with classrooms above. This school is currently planned to be built to the 490-student option but a final decision will be made early next year about whether to build it instead for the potential of housing up to 660 students.

The district decided to build the core facilities for its new elementaries to handle that many students, but isn’t necessarily starting off with classrooms for that many. (The new Genesee Hill school is one that will be at the maximum size from the start – not surprising given that enrollment is expected to pas 600 next year at Schmitz Park Elementary, whose program will move to the new GH.)

Enrollment projections will be consulted early next year to make a final decision – district capital-projects senior manager Lucy Morello said the bids will be solicited with both options. In a conversation after the meeting, she even mentioned a sort of third option – the shell could be built to the 660-student size, with interior work to be left to be done later if needed. A persistent rumor about a potential larger school representing a way to co-house Roxhill Elementary was dismissed by Morello, saying that the community was “heard loud and clear” when it vehemently opposed the merger idea a few years ago. Possible factors in the need for more space could include, it was mentioned, upcoming ballot measures for universal preschool and smaller class sizes.

There was also an aerial view showing skylights that would be the best way to get a lot of light into the school. On the north side, the building will be less than a foot higher than the current building; the three-story section will be 15 feet above the roofline of the current one, on the south side.

The construction is planned in two phases, later explained as the result of the project having moved up this far in the timeline – they needed to start the abatement this summer, so, while the first phase of work is under way, permits will be sought for the second phase.

The first phase will begin this summer, the second phase – the bulk of the work – next March. Here’s the timeline shown at the meeting:

Bid opening Phase 1 award, July (bids will be opened next week)
School moveout, June 23-July 7
Phase 1 Contractor Mobilization, July 8
Abatement, July
Demolition/Civil Work, August-November
Bid Opening Phase II Award, February 2015
Phase II Contractor Mobilization/Start, March 2015
Phase II Completion, May 2016
Start of School, September 2016

So, if the schedule goes as planned, there will be a break in work between November and March.

They expect to work Mondays-Saturdays, with a 7 am start on weekdays, 9 am start on Saturdays. A third-party consultant will be observing during the abatement phase, which will be done in a “closed, pressurized space,” to avoid any exposure beyond that space.

Other questions included traffic – as surfaced during the appeal hearing, the potential confluence of traffic between the relocated Westside School (at 34th and 104th, just three blocks away) and the new Arbor Heights is a concern. Morello said that they’ll be working with SPS Transportation to look at an “access management/traffic management plan,” in conjunction with Westside, which will open a year earlier than the new Arbor Heights. They’re meeting this week, in fact, she said; shifting start/dismissal times could be an option.

Lemay noted that the site includes 55 parking spaces, 50 more than it has now, which is supposed to help alleviate concerns about staff parking offsite. Particular age groups and programs will have particular dropoffs on 105th and 104th, though the project team acknowledged that it will be challenging “to train the parents.”

The meeting overall was cordial, with the only hint of discord being one resident asking how he would get relief from an already-potholed street that now would likely be traversed by heavy truck traffic.

SIDE NOTES: In its final weeks in the old building, Arbor Heights has two big events ahead, to which the entire community is invited – its carnival this Saturday, June 7th (details here) and a “goodbye” event one week from tonight (Tuesday, June 10th) – details here.

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Tonight’s calendar highlight: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/tonights-calendar-highlight-westwood-roxhill-arbor-heights-cc/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:08:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275376 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!

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