Boarding up Boren: District covering windows at shuttered school

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.

18 Replies to "Boarding up Boren: District covering windows at shuttered school"

  • Ken September 29, 2010 (7:05 pm)

    I’ve walked by the Hughes school frequently over the last six years. It’s been empty for at least 4 1/2 of those years, and I’ve never seen the windows boarded up there.

  • Delridge Denizen September 29, 2010 (7:21 pm)

    Thanks for the blight, SPS.

  • ZS September 29, 2010 (7:22 pm)

    My bet is graffiti will be on the boarded windows within 24 hours of completion.

  • JJJ September 29, 2010 (8:08 pm)


  • Pete September 29, 2010 (9:05 pm)

    Where was the public input part? Do they not care about our Delridge neighborhoods?

  • Mike D. September 29, 2010 (9:06 pm)

    This is total BS.

  • coffee September 29, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    For the last several years when I drive by the school, which is daily if not more, I am always wondering why its not kept up better. The grounds are over grown and weeded. I was wondering about the boarding of the building yesterday.

  • Mc September 29, 2010 (10:02 pm)

    That property needs to be sold and redeveloped into much needed commercial, retail, etc. Unfortunately the current economy will keep that from happening any time soon.

  • Eric B September 29, 2010 (10:29 pm)

    Many of the windows at Genesse Hill were boarded up. I wonder if those who indicate displeasure would prefer broken windows and problems like have been experienced at Fairmount Park. And yes, grounds keeping has been horrid at almost every school – occupied or not. Welcome to the state of education funding in our city and our state. I personally think they should sell the Boren property – there is no future need for it since the big schools in W. Seattle have all been renovated. On the other hand, others say it is the last large unoccupied building in the south end of the city and might be needed someday.

  • Celeste September 29, 2010 (10:31 pm)

    They should offer this to the community to use as a meeting place, grocery store, etc. The community does not need another boarded up building. Make this a place to be enjoyed.

  • Michelle W September 29, 2010 (10:35 pm)

    I’m with Celeste!

    It would be such a boon to the neighborhood if they replaced the school with a grocery store, a restaurant, maybe a pub and other shops.

    Delridge NEEDS some commercial areas. We’re so quiet over here and it’d be so nice to WALK to a grocery store instead of driving to Admiral, the Junction, or Westwood.

    I will say, the new Vietnamese restaurant is a GREAT start – YUM!

  • GenHillOne September 30, 2010 (6:24 am)

    I thought the same thing, Eric B. This seems like a no-win situation. Boards are ugly, no boards/possible broken windows are ugly. When occupied, there’s litter from kids. When not occupied, there’s litter from trespassers. SPS has budget issues and we should save money for books or we should do landscaping on an empty building. Boren has never been a pretty site, but someone will always complain about these things. Hard to please everyone.

  • foy - boy September 30, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    Tear it down and put in a park and ride. Westseattle needs a park and ride. Maybe instead of a skateboard park we can spend the money on a park and ride. I say tax the bikers to pay for a park and ride. Oh did I mention that westseattle needs a park and ride?

  • Sarah September 30, 2010 (2:53 pm)

    Delridge is better than just a park and ride. This is a great location for commercial space. I say shops filled with local vendors, good restaurants and pubs, and a place for people to get good organic and local grown produce, a place where people can gather. Build it and people will come. But build it right without allowing crappy corporations to fill the space or ugly condos or apartments we have enough of those in Delridge.

  • Alex September 30, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    “we assess each building on a case by case basis”
    In other words: “No, we don’t generally need to board up schools, but this one is on Delridge, so obviously…”

  • ws October 1, 2010 (8:52 am)

    Alex, I don’t think this is a refelction on the school location. Genesee Hill Elementary School was also boarded. The newly formed Neighborhood council was able to get artwork over some of the boareded windows. not nearly enough but it is a start. Maybe the Delridge NC could try as well?

  • MB October 1, 2010 (9:17 am)

    Hey ZS: I drove by an hour ago and would just like to point out that there was no graffiti and its been more than 24 hours. I’m sure some will show up eventually, as is the case in almost any neighborhood these days, but I think it’s a bit of an unffair and judgmental assumption that because it’s on Delridge it will instantly be plastered in spray paint. I don’t mean to come across as deffensive, but I was born and raised in the Delridge area and I grew up with the scrunched up nose looks that people give when you say you live there and though I know the area is far from perfect, I think some people have the idea that it’s this scary place to avoid. That is an unfortunate view that comments like yours only perpetuate. Just sayin…

  • Barb October 2, 2010 (11:24 am)

    There is room on that site for a shopping center with grocery store—super market, actually, AND the much-needed skate park. The more people that frequent an area, the less vandalism you will get. Let’s serve the needs and wants of the community.

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