West Seattle Blog... » Genesee Hill http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:38:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Appeal hearing set for school project on Genesee Hill http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/appeal-hearing-set-for-school-project-on-genesee-hill/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/appeal-hearing-set-for-school-project-on-genesee-hill/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:57:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=279353

Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin from the city brings the formal notice of an appeal hearing for the new school to be built on the five-years-closed Genesee Hill Elementary site. The appellants, including district watchdog Chris Jackins and more than half a dozen local residents, are not challenging the entire project; they object to aspects including the zoning exception for the school’s height, where the bulk of its building will be placed on the site, plans for on-street school-bus loading, and the amount of parking (71 spaces might not be enough, they say). The appeal hearing is set for 9 am August 5th in the Hearing Examiner‘s chambers on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown; it’s open to the public (for observation but not comment). Some preparation work already has been done on the site, but demolition is still to come.

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New Genesee Hill school: Demolition not expected before summer http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/new-genesee-hill-school-demolition-not-expected-before-summer/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/new-genesee-hill-school-demolition-not-expected-before-summer/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 20:23:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=271974

(Rendering of new elementary at Genesee Hill site)
After several inquiries about the status/timeline for demolition at Genesee Hill Elementary – to be replaced by an all-new school – we checked with Seattle Public Schools. Tom Redman, who handles communications for SPS projects like this, says they’re not ready to set the date for demolition to begin yet, because they’re still finalizing permits:

The hazardous materials abatement and the archaeological survey have been completed. The building bid package was completed and advertised, followed by the pre-bid conference. The Master Use Permit (MUP) is being reviewed by the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development. The contractor is scheduled to begin work this summer, pending appropriate permit approval by the city.

The bids are listed here (a bit lower than the estimate) – but the official winning bidder hasn’t been announced yet.

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New Genesee Hill school: No, it’s not demolition time yet http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/new-genesee-hill-school-no-its-not-demolition-time-yet/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/new-genesee-hill-school-no-its-not-demolition-time-yet/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:54:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=268707 One neighbor reported that it looks like demolition is near at the old Genesee Hill Elementary – slated for replacement with a brand-new school – but it’s not happening yet, according to Seattle Public SchoolsTom Redman. He explained what IS happening right now:

We are not beginning demolition yet. We are currently abating/removing hazardous material from the existing building. We are also doing an archeological survey, based on the State Dept. of Archeological and Historical Preservation maps.

Also, per City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, we are doing required testing for pin pile foundation load test, which means we are driving a test pile into the soil and checking subsurface load capacity. This will give us an idea of what the planned foundation pilings can support beyond standard loads.

Background information about the new school is here. The old building has been closed for almost five years.

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Genesee campus tree makes history: ‘Best in City’ honor http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/genesee-campus-tree-makes-history-best-in-city-honor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/genesee-campus-tree-makes-history-best-in-city-honor/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 21:15:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=252629

Admiring the fall colors this weekend? A visit to the past-and-future school site on Genesee Hill (50th SW/SW Genesee) might be in order – to pay your respects to that American Elm honored as a “Best in City” tree in PlantAmnesty‘s Heritage Tree program. Karen Lyons shares the photo and the news:

I belong to a group that is trying to save some of the fine trees on the school’s 6.2 acres. I’m the group’s botanist so I volunteered to take a tree survey last year and found a magnificent American Elm! The majority of American Elms in the US were wiped out by Dutch Elm disease. Somehow this tree is either immune (making it valuable for research) or has escaped the disease. I later contacted the Heritage Tree committee and they sent a group of 6 investigators to measure and take samples of the Elm. That was a few months ago. On October 1st I received this letter naming this tree and awarding it as “Best In The City”. It will be spared!

District documentation verifies that the tree will not be taken out during the construction of the new school – from last month’s summary of the newest design changes: “The steep hillside on the site will be fully protected, as will the significant and exceptional trees on the hillside (including the old elm near the center of the site).” The district expects to start construction next spring; the current Schmitz Park school program is expected to move into the new school at mid-year 2015-2016, while the district proposes to turn the current Schmitz Park building into an early-learning center.

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More portable classrooms on the move from Genesee Hill http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/more-portable-classrooms-on-the-move-from-genesee-hill/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/more-portable-classrooms-on-the-move-from-genesee-hill/#comments Tue, 27 Aug 2013 23:03:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=162161 Heads up – more portable classrooms are being moved, early tomorrow and early Thursday. From Tom Redman at Seattle Public Schools:

The last of our portable moves from Genesee Hill are scheduled as follows:

8/28/13 before 6 am- 1 single from Genesee Hill to Jane Addams

8/29/13 before 6 am- 1 single from Genesee Hill to Jane Addams

SPS and its contractors are following the SDOT requirement for these structures to be moved off-site in the early morning hours in order to comply with SDOT’s requirement to be off the road by SDOT’s 6am truck traffic restriction hour. This results in the entire to and from transport needing to be completed by 6 am.

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Another neighborhood-council meeting ahead: Genesee-Schmitz http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/another-neighborhood-council-meeting-ahead-genesee-schmitz/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/another-neighborhood-council-meeting-ahead-genesee-schmitz/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 02:14:52 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=160855 On Sunday, we previewed three neighborhood-council meetings happening this week and next – North Delridge Neighborhood Council (under way right now), Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (tomorrow night), and the second meeting of the revived Junction Neighborhood Council (August 20th). Tonight, another one to add to the list: This Thursday, the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council meets, with two major items on the agenda: The future of the 50th/Dakota substation site (one of six West Seattle sites the city is reviewing), and the small-lot-development issue that’s affected neighborhoods including Benchview (which recently saw both a court victory and a re-filing). You are welcome to attend the GSNC meeting at 7 pm Thursday (August 15th) at West Side Presbyterian Church (3601 California SW).

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Landmark status for old Genesee Hill school? City hearing set http://westseattleblog.com/2013/07/landmark-status-for-old-genesee-hill-school-city-hearing-set/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/07/landmark-status-for-old-genesee-hill-school-city-hearing-set/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2013 23:29:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=158416

Does West Seattle’s 65-year-old Genesee Hill Elementary School – slated for demolition and replacement – meet the criteria to be a city landmark? A hearing on that question is set for August 7th, according to an announcement from the city:

The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider landmark nomination for Genesee Hill Elementary School at 5012 SW Genesee Street. The meeting will be on Wednesday, August 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 16th Floor in Room 1600.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by 5:00 p.m. on August 6 at the following address: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA, 98124-4649.

A copy of the nomination is available for public review at the West Seattle Branch Library, 2306 42nd Avenue SW (206-684-7444); and at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Office in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave, Suite 1700 (206-684-0228). The nomination is posted on Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website (in three files on this page).

This process is a routine part of projects like this, and also was done for the old Denny International Middle School, torn down and replaced by open space and recreational facilities when the new one nearby was ready to occupy. Seattle Public Schools expects to start building the new school at Genesee Hill next year.

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New Genesee Hill school to open midyear 2015-16; community meeting set http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/new-genesee-hill-school-to-open-midyear-2015-16-community-meeting-set/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/new-genesee-hill-school-to-open-midyear-2015-16-community-meeting-set/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:45:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=149374 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.

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Water weirdness in north West Seattle? You’re not alone http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/water-woes-in-north-west-seattle-youre-not-alone/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/water-woes-in-north-west-seattle-youre-not-alone/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 04:32:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=149150 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.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Police response @ Genesee Hill school http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-response-genesee-hill-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-response-genesee-hill-school/#comments Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:09:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=145860

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.

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‘Preferred schematic design’ debuts for future Genesee Hill school http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/preferred-schematic-design-debuts-for-future-genesee-hill-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/preferred-schematic-design-debuts-for-future-genesee-hill-school/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 16:50:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=138160

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:

While stressing that the design is “still really malleable” and in its “infancy,” the project team nonetheless also repeatedly stressed that this is the design concept with which the advisory committee had just decided to move forward. Note that these are not architecturally fleshed-out renderings, but rather deal with “massing” – size and shape – and placement of features on the site. Above, the green playfield would be where most of the current, to-be-demolished Genesee Hill Elementary is now, on the southwest side of the site. In the next view, with the north side of the site along SW Dakota in the foreground, the red structures are the main facilities, while the blue in the distance represents the classroom wing, with pods of 4 classrooms (“small learning communities”) clustered around potential shared-activity spaces for occasional team-teaching, and outdoor access that could facilitate outdoor learning. There also would be a flexible classroom with a movable wall that could be used to create smaller spaces. The east side of the building would “engage” with the hillside, with the inside hallways more like bridges over it.

The building will be built to accommodate about 650 students, with an alternate to downsize it to 500 students if the costs are “way over,” it was explained. A floor plan was shown too, with a “community living room” near the entrance on the north, with a stairway to the library on the 2nd level. A dance studio and instrumental music area would be nearby, and then, a bit further south, a student dining hall connecting to a gym. The center of that main building would include a “multi-use space” usable for math and science among other things.

Staff parking would be where the playfield is now, on the southeast side of the site, but set as far west into a slope as possible.

The dramatic grade change on the site – 35 feet from the current building down to that current field site – is one factor the project team says it’s been working with. The design principles were described as including “really fit(ting) into the challenging site” where Genesee Hill Elementary now sits, and being “timeless” as well as serving as a “community resource … not just a place of learning … to be a community center, to allow for community access onto the site, to use as a park, if you will,” plus “to be sustainable … good steward of taxpayer dollars and good steward of our environment.”

On the second floor, the library would be located in a way that would take advantage of the Mount Rainier and territorial views from that location.” Donelson said that the preferred scheme, even with some two-story buildings, would still allow nearby neighbors to maintain their views.

After discussing the details of the “preferred scheme,” there was some Q/A.

One attendee had high praise for the concept, saying she could see herself and her child “interacting with the building” and that it would be more pleasant not to see the parking lot in a prominent spot along SW Genesee. One neighbor said that while she would be losing a “park in (her) backyard” because of the parking lot replacing the current southeast playfield, keeping the trees was a positive move. (The parking lot will be pushed as far west into the hillside as possible, the architects later added.)

Another attendee wondered about the grade change from the driveway on the site that would go along most of 51st (the site’s west side) and then part of Dakota with entrance/exits on each of those streets. It would be one way from 51st northeast to Dakota. The 51st side would only be used at the start and end of the school day.

“Could it be a hardscape play surface during the day?” someone wondered. Maybe, was the reply.

WHAT’S NEXT: The project team and advisory committee will continue working with this design concept, warning that “we’ve got a long road ahead of us.” And more community meetings are ahead – including another one “within a month or two” that will flesh out the design with more architectural details. No date yet. “Please come and voice your opinions if you can,” those in attendance were exhorted. The timeline as currently envisioned calls for going out to bid in spring 2014, followed immediately by construction, which they hope would be done “by the end of 2015.” There is no website for the project yet.

(The Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council also will continue focusing on the site’s current and future status and programs; its members and other neighbors have worked hard in the past few years to make sure the site has continued to play a role in the neighborhood, with community gardens on its west side, among other projects.)

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Designing a new school: Notes on the Genesee Hill site plan http://westseattleblog.com/2012/12/designing-a-new-school-notes-on-the-genesee-hill-site-plan/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/12/designing-a-new-school-notes-on-the-genesee-hill-site-plan/#comments Wed, 26 Dec 2012 18:30:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=134389 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):

- The building itself would be located mainly on the upside down L-shaped upper area of the site (as viewed from SW Genesee St.; i.e., the levels where the current bldg. and portables are located). It is possible that some classrooms would “step down” one or both of the slopes to the lower field; this would be more expensive upfront but could result in heating savings later.

- The preferred design would have half the classrooms where the southernmost portables are now, overlooking or partially stepping down the slope; these would be connected to a central core area at the corner of the L to include the library–optimally located for the view of Rainier–and administrative offices. The long leg of the L (on the western part of the site) would include more classrooms (again either on top of the slope or partially stepping down it) and the gym/multipurpose/performance and Hiawatha spaces.

- The building’s elements would include an office/administrative area (preferred to be located where it will see all visitors entering the main entrance off of SW Dakota St.), 6 clusters of classrooms, with 4 classrooms, restrooms, and other shared spaces in each cluster. There would also be a library, gym, multipurpose room (cafeteria), occupational/speech/physical therapy spaces, and a smaller performance space. In addition, there would be space for the Hiawatha before-and-after school child care program to operate, custodial spaces, etc. The design team dealt only with the major spaces, not the more minor ones, and even then, the architectural team will have to make the final call.

- The large trees on the site are currently being assessed as to their location and condition; obviously, any buildings on the slopes would necessitate removal of trees and also native plants on the west side. It is important to school staff to have visibility through the site for safety purposes. The design advisory team members were split with regard to keeping the trees, with some folks (such as GSNC) in favor of keeping them, and others not at all concerned if they were cut.

- Parent/general parking would likely be onsite along the SW Dakota St. side, and staff parking would be located near the corner of 51st and Genesee; bus dropoff and loading would be along 51st Ave. SW. There would also need to be a service drive, perhaps off of SW Dakota St. There are very few access points on the property where the street level and the site level match, which makes this a challenge.

- The main play areas would be located at the NE corner of the lower field, nestled below the building, with a switchbacked ramp from the building down to the field. There would be a smaller asphalt area (perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 of the overall area), with the remainder left in grass. The school would also like to have a small vegetable garden for the students. In addition, there would be a covered play area of some kind, and a covered outdoor learning area/pavilion.

- There would be stairs added at the NE and SW corners of the grassy field to the upper level; these could be used as people come and go from the site. (There would be no public passthrough at the corner of the L.)

- There would be an entrance gate, perhaps with art, at the SE corner of the property. This would allow community access across the site to the NE stairs and SW Dakota St. during nonschool hours; GSNC is working with the district in hopes of getting some assurance that this access will be protected.

Remember that none of this is set in stone, though major changes to the general layout are probably unlikely. The architectural team continues to take comments even during the holidays, so we welcome your feedback to our e-mail address and will pass it on to them.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on a more finalized version of this plan during the week of Jan. 22-25 when the architects will be available daily during school hours at Schmitz Park School. There will also be a public meeting around that time (date to be announced).

In addition, GSNC is working with the district and the architects to finalize the date of the next GSNC meeting when the architects can present their vision for the new design (with cost and feasibility taken into account). We will let you know as soon as we have more information on this meeting.

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New Schmitz Park Elementary at Genesee Hill: Design under way, before full funding finalized http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/new-schmitz-park-elementary-at-genesee-hill-design-under-way-before-full-funding-finalized/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/new-schmitz-park-elementary-at-genesee-hill-design-under-way-before-full-funding-finalized/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2012 21:51:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=130519 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.

Providing that BEX IV (finalized November 7th) wins voter approval, the new school is scheduled to open at the Genesee Hill site in fall 2015. As projects of this size go, that’s a relatively short time frame, and that is why, the district has explained, the design process was convened even before the vote.

Design Teams are part of the SPS process of creating new school facilities – in a process explained here. They aren’t just for school buildings; a few years ago, we covered the Design Team convened to plan the future of the site that used to hold Denny International Middle School, now park, playground, and sports facilities considered to be part of the district-owned Southwest Athletic Complex.

District spokesperson Tom Redman tells WSB that the early design work for the new Genesee Hill school is being “paid for by unspent funds from BEX III and BTA III capital levies.” The firm chosen to do the design is BLRB, as approved by the School Board recently.

The Design Team, meantime, includes community volunteers as well as staffers and consultants. Janet Donelson and Tom Bates were coordinating last night’s meeting. Bates is from BLRB Architects, with whom the district has contracted to design the new school, which could hold up to 650 students.

We dropped by last night’s meeting about midway through. Participants were talking about traffic concerns and how the new school should address them – speeding cars are a problem on Genesee Hill itself, for example. Bates reassured them that the city process will include a traffic study, which will address other issues including how to get students across the street. Sustainability and environmental design were asked about, too; that’s in the state’s requirement for public-school buildings, Donelson and Bates pointed out.

From notes taken during community discussion throughout the meeting, these are other points of concern:

*School design needs to reflect the neighborhood; building areas that face out to the neighborhood should not look like “blank walls”

*Existing plants/landscaping should be preserved if possible, but if removed, it’s important that landscape design reflect the neighborhood

*Public outreach is vital, to reach other schools’ PTAs/PTSAs and organizations such as the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council, Hiawatha Community Center Advisory Council, West Seattle Junction Association

WHAT’S NEXT: The next public meeting at which you can offer comments and ideas is with the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council on December 13th – watch the GSNC website for more details. (The future of the school site has been one of that group’s signature issues since its founding more than two years ago.)

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New school at Genesee Hill: Offer your ideas @ meeting tonight http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/new-school-at-genesee-hill-offer-your-ideas-meeting-tonight/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/new-school-at-genesee-hill-offer-your-ideas-meeting-tonight/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2012 20:26:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=130380 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):

They really want to hear from the community, and this is your chance to have input at the conceptual stage!

The district is planning a multistory building that will serve from 500 to 650 students and meet district guidelines for elementary schools, but the specifics of what it will look like, what it will contain, and where it will be located on the site are all up for discussion.

To get your creative juices flowing, below are links to the sites of some schools that the design advisory team toured recently; please come to the meeting to share your feedback, or e-mail us at gsncouncil@gmail.com with your comments.

Helen Keller (Lake Washington School District):
lwsd.org/school/keller/About-Us/Pages/NewBuilding.aspx
(Scroll down to lower images. Aerial photo at top shows both the new and the old buildings, and the old one has since been demolished and a sand athletic field installed.)

Riverview (Snohomish School District):
riverview.sno.wednet.edu/
cefpi.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4284
(Scroll down to see the video on the second link.)

Sherwood Forest (Bellevue School District):
bsd405.org/schools/elementary/sherwood-forest.aspx

and another that a member of the advisory team shared (but the team did not tour):

Robert Frost Elementary School (Lake Washington School District):
studioms.com/portfolio/k-12-education/robert-frost-elementary-school

Schmitz Park is at 5000 SW Spokane.

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Designing the new school on Genesee Hill: GSNC’s early hopes http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/designing-the-new-school-on-genesee-hill-gsncs-early-hopes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/designing-the-new-school-on-genesee-hill-gsncs-early-hopes/#comments Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:27:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=129677 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 gsncouncil@gmail.com by 5 p.m. Sunday, November 18.

The GSNC requests, after the jump:

1. Good traffic flow around the site for buses and cars, plus onsite parking

2. Indoor and outdoor meeting spaces that could be used by the community as well as the school

3. Garden with integrated community-school involvement (would build on current community garden)

4. Green space, preferably with preservation of native plants

5. Emergency location in event of a major disaster

6. Building to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified, preferably to Gold Standard (if budget allows)

7. Building scale and size to fit in with the neighborhood while minimizing the footprint to preserve green space

8. Good drainage on the property

9. A cistern under the building to capture water for garden use

One area that was overlooked in the discussions (but will likely be added) is optimizing safety and security at the site (i.e., designing in such a way as to discourage illegal activity such as drug dealing).

Some other ideas that were discussed and may warrant further consideration: Preserve the sledding hill; include electric car charging stations in the parking lot; preserve community access through the property. Two controversial areas that were discussed were whether to consider a dog park (but district/city rules would not allow it); and whether to keep the large evergreens (district staff see them as a safety concern in the event of windstorms). One meeting attendee pointed out that the trees were not there in 1965 when his children attended Genesee Hill School.

One possible area of concern: Whether the site has any soil contamination from the old Asarco smelter in Tacoma.

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