Got the tip from a community advocate: The former Boren Middle School on Delridge – home to Chief Sealth International High School the past two years, but empty this year – is being boarded up, apparently without notice to the neighborhood. We went by to check it out, and indeed, crews like the one in our photo (taken on the north side of the Boren building) were covering the windows with sheets of wood. When we called Seattle Public Schools, our inquiry was referred to facilities communication director Tom Redman. He told us it’s a matter of security, since the school is not scheduled for use any time soon – though it remains on the roster as a possible emergency backup facility if some other SPS facility has to be suddenly taken out of service, and he said it might somehow figure into BEX 4 – BEX 3 was the ballot measure that included the Denny/Sealth rebuild/renovation/colocation project. We asked if the district had plans to watch for graffiti vandalism, since boarded windows might seem like more attractive targets than glass windows, and he said they certainly would respond to reports/complaints. He didn’t know, however, if boarding up unused schools was standard procedure (we’ll be looking at Genesee Hill and Fairmount Park, the two empty elementaries in West Seattle, both of which were offered for lease earlier this year along with the former EC Hughes, but while Hughes was snapped up by Westside School [WSB sponsor], Genesee and Fairmount had no takers).
THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Redman clarifies the district’s policy:
We are selective. We try to balance asset protection with the cost of boarding the buildings not in use. Although not every window on every building not in use is boarded, we assess each building on a case by case basis.