Click for a few seconds of video panning across the full 150-plus crowd at the Chief Sealth High School cafeteria last night for the last district-presented meeting in West Seattle before the School Board makes its decision on the intensely debated Denny/Sealth construction project’s future.
That’s a photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham, showing parent Gail McElligott at the meeting. What was seen – lots of PowerPoint slides – and what wasn’t heard – answers to audience questions – dominated the night. See most of the slides for yourself (since the district didn’t promise they’d be up online any time soon), and more, ahead:
First, with consultant Regina Glenn moderating the evening, the crowd spent a half-hour plus listening to narration with the PP slides. Some got printed-out copies; those were gone when we arrived just before 7, so we videotaped the screen and took grabs. Note, this is NOT the order in which they were presented. First, the summaries of all three options currently under consideration — 1, the project as it stands now; 2, the project plus $10 million that the district’s supposedly going to come up with somewhere to add more improvements to Sealth; 3, safety improvements mandated for Sealth plus Denny rebuilt on its current site:
Now, the schematics that were presented — the one for options 1 and 2 is the same, and for 3, only a rudimentary drawing was presented, with a promise that if the board chooses 3, then a design will be developed (top half of the 1/2 drawing shows Sealth on its current site, bottom half is the proposed Denny design to the north):
So what about those possible extra Sealth improvements in option 2? They were listed on a variety of slides; here are some – where you see the word “choice,” it was explained, that’s if those options were chosen — one slide says the total cost of all potential added improvements would be $18 million, so some prioritizing would be required.
Throughout this process, the matter of money keeps coming up. So here are the slides showing what the district projects as the costs of each option, plus a timeline:
No matter what, the district says, Sealth will have to move into Boren starting next fall (and as that last slide suggests, Option 3 would drag the process out an extra year). CSHS teacher Delfino Munoz, an outspoken critic of the proposed colocation, asked during the short open-comment period last night, why does the Sealth work have to be done first?
The questions and comments in those last few minutes were just a small sampling of those recorded during the “breakout groups” after the presentation; the audience was broken into fourths, and each one went off to a classroom. Our group was told that the questions being asked in the “breakout” room would be answered when the full audience regrouped. That didn’t happen; instead, each group of questions was read to the entire audience, and the district promised the questions would be posted, and answered, on its website by Feb. 13, maybe even sooner. (Website info, or lack of it, on this project has been a sore spot, as we noted here.)
That’s one of the breakout groups, moderated by Robert Evans, photographed by Matt Durham, who also snapped Chief Sealth social-studies teacher John Starks, who lives two blocks from the school, wondering how the project might affect property values.
Students’ voices were woven through the night as well. In this video clip, Chief Sealth senior Alyson Hitch is worried about something in the classroom – books:
Some other students last night reiterated safety questions that had been brought up previously. Here’s what the district presentation had to say about safety:
District reps reiterated last night that from this moment forward, they will accept comments in any format you can use to get them in: E-mail the school board. E-mail the superintendent. Send them postal mail. Go to the Feb. 12 Westwood Neighborhood Council moderated-panel meeting one week from tonight – WNC president Steve Fischer pitched it at the end of last night’s district-presented meeting:
The WNC meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7 pm, Chief Sealth HS Commons. Read the latest official announcement (including the panelists’ names) here. Citizen activist Charlie Mas also pointed out in comments on our meeting-toplines post late last night that the district’s BEX Oversight Committee meets this Friday morning at John Stanford Center (SPS HQ in SoDo) and will have some discussion on Denny/Sealth. And again, 2/13 is when the school board is to be presented with the district’s recommended option; 2/27 is the date for the final vote. Check out our archived Denny/Sealth coverage here.