If you’ve been looking to catch up with where the plans to build a new elementary school on the former Genesee Hill Elementary campus stands, here’s your next chance. The district has announced a community meeting for 6:30 pm Wednesday, May 8th, at Schmitz Park Elementary (5000 SW Spokane). District spokesperson Tom Redman says, “The meeting will include discussion of the progress of the project’s schematic design and an update of the work of the School Design Advisory Team. The SDAT team will meet before the community meeting at 4:30 p.m., also at Schmitz Park.” He also notes – if you hadn’t seen this on the timeline – the new school will NOT be opening for the start of the 2015-2016 school year, but instead is expected to be open after that year’s winter break – January 2016.
Reports of discolored water have come in via e-mail, via Twitter, and the WSB Forums tonight – mostly in the Genesee area. Residents who checked with Seattle Public Utilities say they were told fire crews were running the hydrants earlier today; via e-mail, Eileen adds, “They suggested not running much hot water right now since it will fill up your hot water tank w/ sediment. Wish I’d known that before running the dishwasher tonight!” If you’re having this problem tonight – or encounter it some other time – check out this online advice from SPU.
No arrests reported so far in a reported burglary attempt at the closed Genesee Hill School today. Police and Seattle Public Schools security responded around noontime to a report of a possible break-in; police told us at the scene that it appeared to be an attempt. Scanner traffic later indicated that witnesses saw two suspects, both female, but no other description, heading northbound on 51st SW.
A preferred “schematic design” was revealed last night for what is now going by the working title of the “new elementary school at Genesee Hill,” rather than “the new Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill,” according to project manager Janet Donelson.
The design was shown to about 20 community members in the Schmitz Park cafeteria, exactly three weeks before the February 12th election in which Seattle voters will decide whether to approve the Seattle Public Schools BEX (Building Excellence) IV levy that will generate the property-tax dollars for this $38 million project and others around the city.
As Donelson explained at the start of the meeting, the district provided some advance money to get the design work under way – since getting a new school open by fall 2015 would be impossible if they waited till after the election to start; a community advisory team has been working since last fall.
Ahead, four more views from last night’s presentation led by BLRB Architects, and what happens next:
If you’re not on the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council e-mail list – or otherwise involved in the process, you might not know they’re sharing early updates from discussions about the new school to be built on the Genesee Hill Elementary site and opened in fall 2015 (assuming funding is approved by voters in the February vote on the Seattle Public Schools BEX IV levy). This morning’s GSNC update includes notes from a meeting earlier this month, outlining how the current site will be used:
On Dec. 15 (which happened to be the day after the Newtown, CT, school tragedy), the School Design Advisory Team (SDAT) met to explore possible layouts for the new elementary school to be built on the Genesee Hill site. A variety of possibilities were explored, and the design was narrowed down to one for the architects to further explore and assess from a feasibility and cost standpoint.
Here is a summary of what was included in this design (apologies that it is a text description, but no drawings or plans are currently available):
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though the vote on the Seattle Public Schools BEX IV construction-project levy isn’t until February, the process of planning one of its designated projects is under way now.
Last night, the Design Team for what’s for now known as the new Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill convened a “community conversation,” inviting neighbors to come talk about ideas and concerns. The school will be built on the site where the closed Genesee Hill Elementary now stands; it was long home to Pathfinder K-8 until that school moved into what had been Cooper Elementary on Pigeon Point in fall 2009, as part of the school-closure plan that shuttered GH permanently.
From tonight’s calendar: Reminder from the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council – a community conversation is scheduled tonight with the Design Team for the new school at the closed Genesee Hill site, 6:30-8 pm tonight at Schmitz Park Elementary. Read on for some examples of what they’re looking at, to help inspire your suggestions (and see how to comment even if you can’t go to the meeting):
Though the BEX IV school-building levy won’t go to voters till next February, the process of designing its first potential projects is starting now – including the creation of a community/district Design Team for the new school that’s currently described as Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill. That school will be built on the site where the closed ex-GH Elementary now stands. The Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council is announcing its hopes for the site – looking ahead to a community conversation next week:
GSNC is pleased to announce that Kerrie Schurr, the group’s Communications Chair, has been selected to represent the council on the Seattle School District’s Design Advisory Team for the new Genesee Hill school building (future location of the Schmitz Park program, if the capital levy passes in February). This is a great opportunity for the community to have input into the design considerations, either via the council or directly to the district at the Community Conversation for this project.
The Community Conversation will be held on Monday, November 19, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Schmitz Park Elementary School. A second Community Conversation will be held during the week of January 21 (details forthcoming).
At the short (1-hr.) GSNC meeting last Thursday evening, those in attendance came up with the initial list below of desired features for the new Genesee Hill school. Additional ideas may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Sunday, November 18.
The GSNC requests, after the jump: Click to read the rest of Designing the new school on Genesee Hill: GSNC’s early hopes…
Thanks to Bryan and Janet Jones for photos from the grounds of the former Genesee Hill school, where the community gardens are getting some TLC from neighborhood and Seattle Pacific University CityQuest volunteers. That work’s going on till about 2 pm.
But it overlaps with another event you can join in, too – from 1 till 3 pm, make mosaic stepping stones with Bright River Studio artist Terri Goodwin. Just bring “a colorful old plate or tile to break up for the mosaic” and “dress for mess.” You’ll get to keep your finished creation.
ADDED: Afterward, Janet sent out this summary:
Today was a gold star day at the school, with several long-awaited tasks accomplished, as follows:
Four new basketball nets installed
Some playground sweeping
All summer debris transferred to the dumpster
Ivy pulled from the Dakota hedge
Wildlife area tidied
Wood chips wheelbarrowed to beds – wildlife area and behind play structure
Two and a half trash bags of litter picked up.
Photos with story posted to the wsblog
Stepping stone art
Thank you one and all!
The future of the ex-Genesee Hill Elementary campus remains a central point of concern for people who live in the area, according to what the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council heard last Thursday during its first general meeting after several months’ hiatus. The meeting’s main point was to hone in on defining the neighborhood’s attributes and how to add to them with an eye to the future. Attributes, according to attendees: Friendliness, small-town feeling despite big-city proximity, exceptional views from the hills and bluffs. What’s needed: More park space where people can gather – the neighborhood has beautiful, forested Schmitz Park, of course, but it doesn’t have any sort of “commons” area. Also suggested – more events like last year’s neighborhood hoedown. About the campus: The community gardens maintained by volunteers on the west side are a point of pride, and despite the fencing that the district’s been putting up, neighbors hope access will remain. (In the longer term, the district is considering asking for money in its upcoming BEX IV levy to build a new Schmitz Park Elementary on the Genesee Hill campus.) To stay in touch with Genesee-Schmitz, keep an eye on the GSNC website.
Thanks to Rob for the photos from the ex-Genesee Hill School campus, where Seattle Public Schools has just fenced off building access – as they had told us two weeks ago that they planned to do in the “near future.”
District spokesperson Tom Redman had told WSB that they planned to fence off the buildings because of increasing crime – graffiti, other vandalism, break-ins – but that garden or field use wouldn’t be affected. Rob says that with the fencing, “The buildings are still accessible from the west side (51st) and the park is only accessible from the south end (Genesee Hill).”
Last month, the district had fenced off field access from SW Genesee, citing vandalism concerns.
Well, in lieu of actual time-traveling, envisioning the future is the next best thing. And that’s what the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council – which hasn’t had a general meeting in a while – is getting ready to do, with the help of as many interested neighbors as they can find! One week from tonight, the journey begins:
What would make our neighborhood a great place to live in 2020?
The GSNC is embarking on a neighborhood Vision 2020 planning process, and we want YOUR input and involvement! Please come to our next meeting and share your ideas with us:
• What do you like about our neighborhood now?
• What short- and long-term changes would you like to see?*
Thursday, April 26, 2012
6:30-7 p.m. Social Time (refreshments will be served)
7-8:30 p.m. Meeting (with lots of time for input and perhaps a speaker or two)
Howell Auditorium, West Side Presbyterian Church, 3601 California Avenue SW
* Some areas to think about:
Social events, parks, communication, traffic improvements, beautification projects, education and support, crime prevention, emergency preparedness, gardening, policy, shared interests/resources, volunteer opportunities
For more information (including a map), please visit our website at www.genesee-schmitz.org. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your name and email address to email@example.com
The vacant former Genesee Hill Elementary is being besieged by vandals, says Seattle Public Schools, so now they’re going to put up even more fencing. Four weeks ago, we reported on a new locked gate along SW Genesee, which was mostly aimed at vandals, according to the district, but now it seems that’s not enough. Tom Redman from the SPS Capital Projects and Planning department tells WSB the district is “going to fence off the Genesee Hill building with temporary fencing in the near future. There has been increasing vandalism and graffiti plus another break-in last week. Crews will fence off the building, but it will not affect the garden use or the field use (use of the field as a dog park is still not allowed).” Right now, it doesn’t seem likely the Genesee Hill building will ever reopen; in the district’s BEX IV levy planning, it’s mostly under discussion as a future site for an elementary to replace Schmitz Park.
Neighbors have received a flyer (see it here) about this, we’re told, but just in case it’s noticed by passersby, here’s advance notice: The Seattle Police SWAT team will be training inside the closed Genesee Hill school tonight, from 6 pm till 3 am. SPD trains from time to time on the campus, which was home to Pathfinder K-8 before that school moved to Cooper on Pigeon Point two-plus years ago, and may be the site of a new school within a few years, depending on what the district proposes in the forthcoming BEX IV levy.
From a theft victim who signed this report “West Seattle taxpayer who wants justice”:
Happened at 2:30 (Wednesday), 46th & Genesee, dog barked and possibly chased off the crooks but the packages are gone. UPS showed up at 2:35, FedEx at 2:45, crook stole the packages at around 3. From what I understand the crooks are following the trucks; I recommend that you send packages to your work or have them held at FedEx or UPS.
Even if you are not expecting any deliveries yourself – if you see someone suspicious in the vicinity of a delivery truck (or anywhere else!) don’t hesitate to call 911 – someone’s tip might just catch serial thieves with a trunkload of other people’s holiday presents.
Seattle Police use the closed Genesee Hill Elementary campus for training now and then, and neighbors are well aware of that, but something about the police tape around the school tonight led several people to ask us what was going on. (One caller said they hadn’t received the usual neighborhood notice.) We’ve confirmed with SPD, it IS training, and shouldn’t go any longer than 11 pm.
Two notes for pumpkin fans:
PUMPKIN SALE: Saturday, 10 am till 2 pm (or till the pumpkins are all gone, if sooner), the Lincoln Park P-Patch is selling the pumpkins just harvested there last weekend, with proceeds benefiting the West Seattle Food Bank. Details in this WSB Forums announcement.
PUMPKIN CARVING DEMONSTRATION: Need some jack-o-lantern skills? Just in:
The Genesee Schmitz Neighborhood Council is hosting professional pumpkin carver Pam Leno from 1 to 4 pm at Ercolini Park (48th & Alaska) this Sunday (rain or shine!).
There will be demonstrations for decorating your pumpkin this year! We ask everyone to bring your own pumpkin and tools to decorate with. Markers will be provided for the smaller children. The GSNC will be providing free cider and hot coffee.
Bill shares word of a break-in attempt on Genesee Hill with a “unique” getaway car that you might want to keep an eye out for – read on: Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Unique’ getaway car to watch for…
(Photos courtesy Janet and Bryan Jones)
On Saturday, dozens of new Seattle Pacific University students converged on West Seattle and White Center worksites as part of SPU’s City Quest day of community service – an annual tradition on the Saturday before classes begin. Hundreds more worked elsewhere in the metro area. The volunteers in these photos were among 23 who pitched in to help on the campus of closed Genesee Hill Elementary, which the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council has worked hard to keep from becoming rundown. Today, they had help!
Bryan Jones says the volunteers were treated to Husky Deli ice cream as a reward for their labor:
Other local City Quest volunteer sites included Lincoln Park, the West Duwamish Greenbelt (with Nature Consortium), and Hicks Lake in White Center.
Police are investigating a case of malicious harassment – the official term for hate crime – and vandalism reported in the Genesee Hill area. We just received this report from one of the targets:
My partner and I live in the 4400 block of 50th Ave SW. After midnight on Friday night, we woke up after hearing a noise from the street. We didn’t know what it was, as our first thoughts were, a sprinkler trying to go off or something involving our cat. My partner opened the front door and turned on the porch lights but didn’t see anything odd.
10 minutes later, that same noise again happened, and I quickly moved the drapes to get a better look. I did see shadows running South on 50th Ave but didn’t see any faces. I walked down to our cars and noticed that both had rocks thrown in our windows. (my partner’s back window and my front driver’s side). His car was in our driveway and my car was along the street, directly in front of our home.
I came back to the house and called 911. Within a few minutes of the call, the Seattle Police department arrived. Officer N. Nguyen and his partner were the first to arrive. We then noticed that all 4 tires of each vehicle had been slashed. When one of the officers found the rock in my partner’s car, it was surrounded by a typed hate note. It read as follows…
God Hates F*gs!
Get the f**k out of our neighborhood.
The bible says God forbids men committing indecent act with other men.
Pack up your sh*t and get you gay sh*t out.
Upon notice of this note, both the Sergeant and Lieutenant were notified and arrived on the scene. Another police officer arrived to take pictures and gather the evidence of the rocks and note. One of the police officers told us that they take these crimes “very seriously” and we were thankful for their presence that evening.
We’re checking to see if police have any leads. If you have tips – call 911.
7 PM UPDATE: Chris (who sent the report and says we can use his first name) says, “After speaking with my neighbors, one was outside around midnight last night. He did witness 2 while males walking up the alley behind our house. He did ask both if they were all right and they responded that everything was fine. He thought it was odd that people were walking the alley that late at night. He didn’t get a good look at their face as the alley doesn’t have much lighting. First was described as around 5’10′ish with a stocky, muscular build. The other was around 5’7″ with a chubby build. Both were wearing black.” Also note, we have corrected the block number from Chris’s original report, after comparing with the police-call map and checking with him.
(Photo courtesy Genesee Hill School Garden)
On this back-to-school week, neighbors of a closed West Seattle school are getting ready for the second-to-last garden-cleanup day of the year – and inviting you to join in. The Genesee Hill School Garden volunteers and Genesee Schmitz Neighborhood Council have been working hard along the northwest section of the shuttered school’s grounds. By late August, toward the end of their first growing season, the garden was alive with plants including sunflowers, corn, and tomatoes – and the Genesee Hill gardeners donated close to 100 pounds of produce to the food bank in August alone! As reported here previously, their project got off the ground – and into the ground! – with the help of a city Neighborhood Matching Fund grant, but volunteer labor makes all the difference, and they’re hoping for help this Saturday (September 10th) and two weeks later (September 24th). Both of those days, they’re asking for volunteers to meet them at the front of the school along SW Genesee (map) at 9 am – the tasks will include tending and weeding the beds, and taking steps to discourage invasives.
Three West Seattle Crime Watch reports to share tonight, from the WSB inbox, including a break-in attempt late today whose victims say police told them about a “roaming” burglar, plus another burglary and a car theft – read on (**added Wed. morning, an additional burglary report): Click to read the rest of West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Roaming’ burglar; car theft; more…
That photo from Genesee Hill would be lovely without words – another beautiful West Seattle view on a perfect summer day. But Lolo, who shared the picture, explains the reason it’s worth a smile:
A while back our bench disappeared. This morning a bench appeared at the overlook, magically. Not sure this is hugely newsworthy, but I think it’s an example of anonymous giving that should be recognized.
Sometimes reports like the following two will yield “yeah, me too,” or “actually, here’s what that was about” – so toward that end, here are two notes that arrived in the WSB inbox late last night, one from the Genesee area, one from Highland Park: Click to read the rest of Reader reports: Two ‘suspicious’ West Seattle encounters…
First time we’ve heard of one household suffering a double auto-theft hit in a single day/night. Michael says, “You can imagine the shell-shock we’re feeling,” as he reports:
Sometime after 9:30 PM on Monday night, 2 of our trucks were stolen from our street parking. A 1993 Red Nissan King Cab and a 1991 White Ford F-250. We’re on 48th Ave SW between Andover and Dakota.
The ONLY reason we know about this so early was that at 3:48 AM (today), we were woken up by SPD knocking to inquire if we owned the F-250. It’d been involved in a collision in Auburn, and connected with a burglary in that area.
When we started to give them the info on the F-250, my wife looked out and saw that the Nissan was missing also.
We just checked, and so far, no other auto-theft incidents are listed in West Seattle in the past 24 hours of reports noted on the time-delayed police-response map. One other note: As mentioned in the daily preview, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tonight at the Southwest Precinct, 7 pm – it’s a chance to talk to police leadership about neighborhood crime concerns and to hear firsthand about the latest trends.
One day last week in the rain, we caught up with Kerrie, Janet and Karen at the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Garden. It’s in its first season growing on the grounds of the shuttered Genesee Hill Elementary School, where there were gardens when Pathfinder K-8 used the campus.
It’s part of an ongoing effort by the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council to make sure the vacant school doesn’t fall into disrepair; they’ve also arranged for art on the side of some of the buildings, to discourage vandalism. Individual gardeners have signed up for plots but they still need overall volunteer help for the first gardening event of the season – not just in the beds, but also in other areas. So just show up on the north side of the playground at 51st and Dakota, 9 am-1 pm tomorrow. Help tend the beds, distribute wood chips, and pull ivy. Seattle Public Schools (which continues to hold the property for potential future use) is providing tools, gloves, and a “weed wrench.” (GSNC acknowledges donations including wood chips from Seattle Tree Preservation, Zoo-Doo from Woodland Park Zoo, and art murals from Van Asselt Elementary.)
Sunday morning, we published two reader reports of mystery incidents within a few blocks of each other on Genesee Hill. This morning, a comment from Barbara solves one of the mysteries, and we’re republishing it here since few will check back on a 4-day-old thread:
Thanks for your concern and for those who helped my mother-in-law who wandered from home and fell last Saturday evening on SW Genesee. She was once quite a walker around her neighborhood, but of course, not recently until Saturday. She was quite injured and unable to recall her name for several hours at Harborview. Eventually she managed her name and address and the family was contacted. We have been busy with her medical care and adjustments to her living situation since then so missed the Blog entries. Thanks again to all our neighbors who helped her that evening. We are thrilled that West Seattle still has such heroes.
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