West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights classroom floods in dry weather

One more reason Arbor Heights Elementary can’t vacate its crumbling building a minute too soon – this weekend, a classroom flooded in bone-dry weather. We went over for photos after parents forwarded a note from principal Christy Collins talking about the damage suffered by Room 9 when a water filter burst over the weekend. The principal wrote in part:

It appears the water ran all weekend with several inches of water soaking all material on the floor. The water and warmth of the room appear to have caused significant condensation on the windows, thereby increasing the possibility of more damage to materials in the room. … a crew from Seattle Public Schools’ maintenance department have worked diligently to move furniture and absorb the standing water with machinery and fans. Unfortunately, it appears the flooring in room 9 is beginning to buckle, so the room most likely will not be habitable for a while. … Teacher and student materials were removed from desks and wooden shelves due to the risk of additional water damage from the accumulated moisture on materials within the room. Students’ personal supplies were transferred to room 19 by morning recess. We were able to salvage most all of the items in the students’ desks that were not made of paper. The classroom computers were turned off and appear to be working.

Here’s the scene in a hallway:

Arbor Heights’ aged facilities are a major reason why it was written into the Building Excellence levy in February for a rebuild – and why after community clamor, the rebuild has been moved up three years from the end of the levy list, to be complete in 2016. As reported here last week, the school is taking applications to be part of its Design Advisory Team – tomorrow’s the deadline.

16 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights classroom floods in dry weather"

  • yowzers! April 1, 2013 (4:03 pm)

    This comes as no surprise to me. My child is in this class. When I read the letter from Ms. Collins, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Just further proof of how neglected our school has been. Thanks for bringing it out for the public to see, WSB! SPS, you owe these kids a functional, sturdy and bright building!

  • happy April 1, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    Apparently it was a failed water filter (installed under all of the classroom sinks to make the water safe for drinking). Who would design/use a GLASS water filter, and install it in a way that can lead to flooding if the filter fails? Wonder how many more are due to fail?
    Sheesh. Gotta love those district decision-makers….

  • Bonnie April 1, 2013 (4:22 pm)

    And the school district was saying all along that over capacity was more important. Our kids deserve better than this. I’m assuming SPS will tell the arbor heights community that they won’t fix the problem like they did when they chose not to replace the stolen computers.

  • kayo April 1, 2013 (4:44 pm)

    Wow. That is awful. Rebuild can’t happen soon enough. I can’t help but worry about mold caused by issues like this, being a huge problem for any child or adult with asthma.

  • Lisa April 1, 2013 (6:00 pm)

    When our daughter went to AH Elem. some 8-9 years ago there were rats, toxic mold, flooding, broken thermostats and indri label water. Nothing in the years since has changed for the better. They deserve better.

    Maybe move the AH students to the district offices where I am sure the heaters work, there are not floods, no toxic mold and drinkable water.

  • happy April 1, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Bet there hasn’t been years of “deferred maintenance” in the district offices!

  • Lisa April 1, 2013 (10:05 pm)

    Got that right, but the district has no problem leaving kids in buildings that are basically inhabitable.

  • ahteacher April 1, 2013 (10:27 pm)

    I am the teacher from this room. I am so lucky to have such wonderful students families and coworkers who have all offered assistance. We were able to carry on our day in a different room. Thank you to everyone who helped me today! Not such a fun April fools day.

  • Brontosaurus April 2, 2013 (12:02 am)

    Lisa – I LOVE your idea! Let’s call it “Arbor Heights at The John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence”. Just interim, of course. Banda can set up office in the flooded classroom.

  • Lisa April 2, 2013 (6:54 am)

    Hey if the flooding classrooms, toxic mold, erratic heaters, and rats are “good enough for the students why not share them with the district employees.

    It is a true disgrace that any of our children attend schools in these type of conditions.

    I predict law suits by families of children forced to adhere to the district and attend schools in such deplorable conditions. Toxic mold, rats cause disease and sick children and adults.

    AH families why not invite Banda and all the rest of the district employees to set up office at AH Elem., through an entire school year , and lets see how long they last working among the rats, toxic mold, erratic temps, and I drinkable water.

  • Trying! April 2, 2013 (7:33 am)

    And Good Luck with the new building. Seeing the development plans for the new Genesee school, I doubt they will be any money left at the end of the levy for the rebuilding of Arbor Heights. The Genesee/Schmitz school is going to go WAY over budget.

  • West Seattle Mom April 2, 2013 (8:30 am)

    I don’t understand what you mean Trying!? Are you saying that Genesee/Schmitz is going to take all our money and we’re just out of luck? That’s what it sounds like you’re implying to me. But of course Genesee Hill needs it so much more than Arbor Heights because they are so much more in need of a new building because they are bursting at the seams.

  • Ann April 2, 2013 (11:03 am)

    Trying –

    First: The funds for Genesse will not affect the AH rebuild. I believe that they have been allocated differently. Correct me if I am wrong, but AH rebuild funds are being borrowed against later payouts.

    Second: Both schools are need of new facilities. Neither one is more “in need” than the other.

    No need to keep trying to “stir the pot.”

  • happy April 2, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    Wonder how much it would cost to just do the (ahem, “deferred” ahem) long-needed maintenance on Arbor Heights and perhaps expand it some? Betcha it would be loads cheaper than an predictably over-budget rebuild.
    Everyone deserves decent schools, and the Seattle School District keeps neglecting the students and staff– unless they are downtown-type staff.

  • Junction mom April 2, 2013 (5:22 pm)

    Thank you Ann for speeaking up and pointing out that there are two very different issues, and different approaches for solutions, and that we are all looking forward to seeing West Seattle get the schools we deserve for our children.

  • Ann April 3, 2013 (11:59 am)

    Happy – the school is over 60 years old and the maintance has been deferred for a very LONG time. Quite possibly the maintenance was deferred as a passive way to close the school down.

    I have been a parent at AH for about seven years now and the school has been on a closing list twice during those years.

    Unfortunately, due to the current state of the facility, a tear down and rebuild is the only solution at this time. Almost half of the school building is comprised of portables of which were not well built and are deteriorating pretty fast now.

    Honestly, probably most of the school community would have preferred a quick upgrade/remodel if it was an option. Not complaining though, it will be nice to have a new and safe facility. That said, it will also be a different AHE.

Sorry, comment time is over.