By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One of two major West Seattle projects funded by last year’s Seattle Public Schools BEX V levy is well into the planning phase.
The $22 million plan to expand West Seattle Elementary in High Point has cross-peninsula ramifications, as the school will be relocated to the former Schmitz Park Elementary for a year while the construction is under way.
The expansion is intended to add capacity at the school, which is currently more than 100 students past what would be a “right-size” enrollment of 320 and is expected to keep growing. This and the future rebuild of Alki Elementary were the largest West Seattle projects on the list of what’ll be funded by BEX V, approved by more than two-thirds of Seattle voters last February.
The first phase of planning, convening a School Design Advisory Team, is already over, according to the district’s project manager Paul Wight. He says the SDAT meetings – in a process explained here – concluded in mid-December. “In all we had 7 meetings and the team was made out of the Principal. staff, teachers, students, parents, and neighbors.” Attendees are listed on the minutes pages, which are linked here and go into details of what was discussed and suggested throughut the process.
Wight tells WSB that next, “The architect, Miller Hayashi, is finishing up the schematic design and we are moving forward with Design Development. We will be going through permitting this year and starting construction on the addition and renovation work in the summer of 2021. It will be approximately a 14-month construction project and school will reopen in the Fall of 2022.”
WSES will move to the former Schmitz Park Elementary (5000 SW Spokane) for the 2021-2022 school year; district spokesperson Tim Robinson says portables (which proliferated before the SP program moved to the new Genesee Hill Elementary) will be added to handle the full WSES population. District projections show the school is expected to have about 437 students enrolled that year. The move is a change from the original plan, which was described in 2018 as something that would be done without requiring the school to temporarily vacate. Schmitz Park currently houses a preschool program.