West Seattle schools: Help design new Arbor Heights Elementary

With the Seattle School Board approving the architect contract for the new Arbor Heights Elementary earlier this month, and opening set for fall 2016, it’s time for a community Design Advisory Team to be formed – and the call for applications has just gone out on the school website. The open letter from principal Christy Collins says in part:

The Design Advisory Team will be composed of current Arbor Heights staff and families as well as neighborhood residents. Our goal is to form a working team of 10-12 individuals who can commit to six formal meetings over the course of April and May and two additional future meetings.

The meeting schedule is part of her letter; the application is here, and needs to be in by April 2nd.

Since its new school is being built on the same site as the deteriorating old one, Arbor Heights is expected to move to the Boren building on Delridge starting in fall 2014, SPS spokesperson Tom Redman tells WSB, remaining there for the two school years prior to the opening of the new building. The new K-5 STEM school is there now, with no timeline for a decision on its permanent home, but the Boren campus has room for hundreds more students, and improvements are planned this summer. The school board’s Executive Committee was briefed on those improvements last week; Redman says they would include:

1) seismic strengthening in the form of shear walls and roof-to-wall braces;
2) completion of the upgrades to finishes in the north wing;
3) selective demolition and “tenant improvements” for two child care rooms and Arbor Heights;
4) replacement of all exterior doors and hardware

P.S. If you’d like to know more about how a school Design Team is supposed to work – its part of the in-depth district manual.

10 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Help design new Arbor Heights Elementary"

  • Question March 25, 2013 (1:28 pm)

    Then where is STEM going?

  • Bonnie March 25, 2013 (1:37 pm)

    Question: That is the BIG Question. Who knows and they aren’t saying.

  • happy March 25, 2013 (1:40 pm)

    Does anyone really believe that the district will follow input from “staff, families, and community members” for the new building? Seriously???
    Why isn’t the new building being built on the very large playground while the current building is in use? Because the district wants a plausible reason to fix up Boren (read: loads of money)? And to show that enormous elementary schools “work just fine”. Hmmm, dare I wonder what that will lead to in the future?
    Follow the money. It is an interesting journey and a not-surprising destination.

    Ridiculous. Wasteful. Same district song, nth verse. But most of all, how is this best for the *students*????

  • WestSeattleSteve March 25, 2013 (2:39 pm)

    @ question, STEM and Arbor Heights will be co-housed at Boron. It’s an old Jr. High, there is plenty of room for both. In the 90’s it co-housed Pathfinder and Cooper elementaries.

  • Trickycoolj March 25, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    My elementary school had 700 kids and 8 portables. They do “work just fine.” I’ve never understood why there are so many teeny tiny elementary schools around here, seems inefficient to me.

  • happy March 25, 2013 (7:10 pm)

    I don’t have a problem with large schools (one school I attended had nearly 2000 students, in just 2 grades!).
    I have a problem with the district’s lack of transparency, hidden agendas, misuse of funds (check out how they are giving principals a $10,000 bonus for going up a tier, or how they “save” Federal special-ed funds which are then put into the general fund, how much they pay [often relating to special-ed] to settle out of court and avoid negative publicity, how much $$ they spend to get rid of bad administrators they chose to hire, and so on), and the general crapola of their policies.
    Who loses? Students. Isn’t the business of public education students? Apparently not: it’s test scores and paybacks and money.
    Who is really running the district? Not the top level or even the second level, but an individual or group well-hidden and keeping out of the swirling chaos that is visible to the general public.

    Four words:
    State audit. Federal audit.

  • Q March 25, 2013 (8:34 pm)

    Right on Happy. I couldn’t agree more.
    There is absolutely no transparency in this district. It’s horrible.

  • happy March 25, 2013 (10:34 pm)

    Thanks, Q..
    The school district always reminds me of “wag the dog” ….

  • Ann March 27, 2013 (12:17 pm)

    I for one am very happy about this news!

    Happy – the community had hoped to keep the school onsite as the new one is being built, but during the investigation of this idea it was found that it would not be a safe situation. Safety first.

    Boren is more than equipped to hold two schools and the interim time there maybe less than expected for both AH and STEM…hopefully.

  • J March 27, 2013 (1:55 pm)

    Re; Happy. I am a resident at the West end of the school (the empty spot). Using the STEM school will inconvenience parents for a few years. A few years and done. Back to business as usual. Moving the school to the empty area will change the entire dynamic of the neighborhood forever.I don’t think you understand the diffference a few hundred feet makes here. We (on the west end of the school including 104th, 105th and 39th)are all long term residents (20-50+yrs) who have invested in the area because we were not right next to the school. Furthermore, relocating the traffic and daily staff parking that occurs next to the school would be one of the most significant impacts to residents. Hopefully staff parking and traffic control will be figured out during this design process. Finally, our mountain views would be compromised. Views that are unattainable to residents by the school due to slope of the hill. This is our home. It has been our home for 30 years. The school should stay where the school is. Let people most impacted have the say in this project.
    Thank you.

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