West Seattle, Washington
(click for full-size version)
If you’re interested in the Denny/Sealth combined-campus project and/or what happens to the Denny Middle School site when its current buildings are demolished after the new school is built on the Sealth campus, you need to know about three major meetings in the coming week. FIRST: A community meeting Monday night to talk about what you would like to see happen at the Denny site post-move. The Westwood Neighborhood Council has developed a vision for the site (sketch above) but that may not dovetail with school-district decisionmaking unless there is strong community support for turning the site into something more than sports fields and tennis courts. The community meeting is at 7:30 pm Monday at Southwest Community Center. SECOND: The next night, the public is invited to the next meeting of the official city-convened committee that is reviewing whether the Denny/Sealth project will be permitted “departures” from city codes, for reduced parking and increased height. The Departure Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm Tuesday in the Denny cafeteria. THIRD: On Wednesday night, the Design Team looking at the future of the Denny site, which includes school district and community representatives, meets at 7 pm Wednesday in the Denny library; you’re also welcome at this meeting.
Though the current Denny Middle School won’t be vacated for more than two years — winter break 2010-2011 — Seattle Public Schools leaders say they need to finalize a plan for its site within the next few months. As mentioned here Friday, the district-organized Design Team (for which community volunteers were sought) starts meeting tomorrow (3 pm at Denny), and now the Westwood Neighborhood Council has set a community meeting to engage neighbors in a discussion of what they want to see. Here’s the announcement just released:
Goodbye Denny, Hello Sports Complex?
After Denny Middle School is relocated to its new location on the Sealth/Denny campus, the Seattle School District will demolish the existing school building. Current District plans call for an expanded sports complex including lighted softball fields, tennis courts and parking to occupy much of the area. As neighbors of the schools, what would you like the future site to look like?
Denny school neighbors voice your opinion!
Westwood Neighborhood Council is hosting a community meeting
7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday October 6
At the SW Community Center, 2801 SW Thistle
Come find out what is happening in your community!!
Please go to www.westwood-neighborhood.org for more information about this meeting, and about the School District’s plans.
Our coverage of the Denny site discussions to date, and the Denny/Sealth campus-combining project that’s leading to the future demolition of the current school, is archived here.
The major decisions in the controversial campus-combining project may be in the history books, but there is other work under way now, with public involvement/comment encouraged, and we want to make sure you know it’s happening: First, what is currently being called the “School Design Team for Future Redevelopment of the Former Denny Middle School Site” is about to meet for the first time – in two sessions two weeks apart, the first one next Monday afternoon – here’s the official announcement:
The first meeting is planned for September 22nd at 3 pm at Denny Middle School with a repeat meeting to take place on October 8th at 7 pm at Denny Middle School for parents, neighbors and community members not able to attend the meeting on the 22nd. The SDT process allows a set number of volunteers from the school, parks, businesses and the surrounding neighborhood to attend the meetings to develop the project needs and requirements. The entire community is invited to attend these meetings and voice their opinion and desires regarding the design and use of the former Denny Middle School site. A number of people from the community volunteered to be a part of the design team. At this time the available seats have been filled. However, we may need optional members in the case that any of the team members are unable to keep their commitment for the full length of time. If anyone is still interested in volunteering to be a part of the design team, please fill out the volunteer form.
The first meeting will familiarize everyone with the school design team process and begin the process of deciding together the best use of the space. The intent is to have all stakeholders be able to express their interests.
The second group that’s meeting is the Sealth/Denny School Departure Advisory Committee. Its first meeting actually happened earlier this week, but we didn’t get an announcement ahead of time and we don’t see evidence much of anyone else did, either — we’re thankful that one of the participants called us the next day in hopes we’d shine a little more light on the process. This is a group the city is required to convene because the Denny/Sealth project calls for zoning “departures” – regarding parking and height. The Departure Advisory Committee’s next meeting is 7 pm October 7, also at Denny.
We’re at the Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting, where a school-district rep has just announced that the Design Team process to figure out what’ll happen to the current Denny Middle School site will start with two meetings at Denny to “listen to stakeholders,” with the first one tentatively scheduled for 9/22, more or less “the same meeting held twice” at different times of day for school staff/student and community-member convenience. (The second date will likely be in early October but may change – WNC is working to set up its own community meeting around that time.) You still have time to sign up to be on the Design Team; here’s the form on the district’s website. The district also confirms that Denny is scheduled to move midyear 2010-2011 – during winter break – from its current location, to the new building to be built on the Sealth campus. More from this meeting, as well as tonight’s transportation forum and the Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, coming up later.
As part of the same school district ballot measure (BEX III) that raised money for projects including the Denny/Sealth combined campus, the Southwest Athletic Complex across from Chief Sealth is getting new turf. Didn’t get to share this pic with you till now, but we spotted striping work being done on Thursday afternoon. On a related note regarding the athletic complex – as we reported earlier this week, there was a suggestion at Tuesday night’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting that the perpetual inaccessibility of the complex because of locked fencing – a hindrance in particular for people trying to walk between Thistle and Trenton, from the school zone to Westwood Village — might be changeable. West Seattle school-board rep Steve Sundquist said he’d check into it. We e-mailed him to ask if he’d gotten anywhere with that, and he replied: “I have not yet had a chance to chase this one down. My guess is that the most productive conversations about the fencing will occur this fall as part of the larger site development planning effort.” (Read more about that in our report about the WNC meeting.)
Two updates today: First, we reported earlier this week about West Seattle-based activist Chris Jackins‘ appeal of the Sealth site “determination of nonsignificance,” and a controversy over tree-cutting that had been done before a hearing on that appeal. We have new information on the appeal (and why there was no public notice of the hearing) – also, we have a report from last night’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting, where both city Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher and West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist were on hand for some honest and open discussion about the future of the Denny site, once the old school’s demolished (shown above, the WNC “vision” for what the site could become – click image for a larger view):Read More
The second Tuesday of every month is usually a very busy night, with up to four major neighborhood associations/councils in West Seattle holding their monthly meetings. This month, all but one are on hiatus — the one that WILL meet tomorrow night is the Westwood Neighborhood Council. They are expecting two high-profile guests: city parks superintendent Tim Gallagher and West Seattle school-board rep Steve Sundquist. WNC has been focused on the Denny/Sealth school project for quite some time and now is laser-focused on what will happen with Denny’s current site, once the school moves to its new spot on the Sealth campus. Here’s the Westwood vision for that site’s possible future; as we mentioned the other day, citizen involvement is being solicited now for both the school district’s “design team” for the site and for a committee that will hold hearings on code “departures” for the Denny/Sealth project. The WNC invites you to join its meeting at 7 pm tomorrow night, Southwest Precinct meeting room (Delridge/Webster).
Reading citywide-media coverage regarding the latest developments in Seattle Public Schools‘ plan to cut trees to make way for an Ingraham High School project, we were startled to see the reports featuring a line about alleged unauthorized district tree-cutting as Denny/Sealth construction/renovation work begins on the Chief Sealth HS campus. Certainly the West Seattle project has had more than its share of controversy, but we hadn’t heard about any tree trouble, so we started digging around. Here’s what we found out:Read More
Denny Middle School principal Jeff Clark sent WSB pix of the new Denny-sponsored All-City Junior Marching Band in the recent Kiddies’ Parade, with an update letting us — and you — know there’s been a lot going on at his school this summer (vacation? what vacation?). And that dovetails with updates on two opportunities to get involved with both the new Denny/Sealth campus and with plans for the future of the Denny site once its replacement is built on that shared campus (where major work is under way now, as we reported last week) – and tomorrow’s the deadline to get in on one of those opportunities. Read on for all the details:Read More
That’s a look inside the old Chief Sealth High School commons, where the old floor’s just been pulled up for replacement – one of many renovations that will be taking place in the next 2 years. At the back of the photo, the old cafeteria’s blocked off for hazmat work including getting out the type of old pipes that were wrapped with asbestos insulation way back when; the new cafeteria and commons will be a shared facility with the new Denny Middle School to be built on the Sealth campus, and while that’s not fully opening till a year after Sealth students return in fall 2010, project manager Robert Evans says the new cafeteria and commons will be ready in two years. We met with Evans and other key leaders from the Sealth/Denny project at CSHS this afternoon; full details of what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and the latest on the process to determine the future of the Denny site, coming up.
Driving Delridge, we spotted work under way alongside that row of portables at Chief Sealth High School‘s new temporary home (the former Boren Junior High), a short time after getting a quick update on the start of the two-year Sealth renovation project. A doorhanger’s gone out to neighbors, says Pauline Sugarman, assistant to Robert Evans, the Project Manager for the Denny/Sealth construction process — but if you were expecting to see demolition of the CSHS portables, once expected to be among the first visible signs of work, you’ll be waiting a while longer. Sugarman says one portable has been moved and the others won’t be demolished “for quite a while” because another permit is needed. She adds, “Most if not all of the construction right now is happening in the inside of the existing buildings.” You can check this city webpage to track the various permits that have been applied for and granted; the Sealth website has its own page with info-links about the relocation to Boren.
With Chief Sealth High School ready to move into Boren (WSB photo above, from 7/4), renovation work at Sealth is kicking into high gear, in the first phase of the process to combine the campuses of Sealth and nearby Denny Middle School. Last night, the Westwood Neighborhood Council got the latest on the project and also dove deeper into discussion of what will happen to the Denny site once the old school is demolished. Local journalist David Preston covered the meeting for WSB – read on for his report:Read More
We mentioned here last month that the Westwood Neighborhood Council was looking for drawing help to draft neighbors’ vision of what could be done with the Denny Middle School site when the new Denny is ready on the Chief Sealth High School campus and the old Denny is demolished. The first draft (mentioned at the last WNC meeting; WSB coverage here) is above; click it for a fullsize version so you can read all the descriptions. So far, as reported here, early Seattle Public Schools thoughts on the site have focused on tennis courts and a softball field (click here to see the “worst-case scenario” SPS drafted), but Westwood sees a lot more, and is working hard to make sure the district keeps its promise of partnership in determining the site’s future — made in the wake of the Denny/Sealth combined-campus process having been way down the track (as reported here almost one full year ago) before it came back before the community post-election. The Westwood Council will discuss this at its next meeting July 8; here’s the official WNC news release accompanying the artwork above:Read More
Two big agenda items at tonight’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting at Southwest Community Center: The future of the Denny Middle School site, once the school’s torn down after its replacement is built on the Chief Sealth High School campus, and the fight over the two southeast West Seattle sites on the city’s “final four” list of possible misdemeanor-offender jail locations — read on:Read More
For the first time in the months we’ve been covering the Denny Middle School/Chief Sealth High School combined-campus controversy/vote/aftermath, we sat in this afternoon on a meeting of the School Design Team, which includes reps from various constituencies with various types of ties to one or both schools. Today’s major items included the first look at a proposal for the exterior design of the new Denny on the Sealth campus, and Denny principal Jeff Clark didn’t mince words with his first reaction — that and more ahead:Read More
As the Denny-Sealth project (archived WSB coverage here) proceeds, the Westwood Neighborhood Council expects to be working closely with the district and the city on plans for the site where Denny Middle School will be demolished after its replacement is built next to Chief Sealth High School. Because of that, WNC president Steve Fischer has just put out the call for “someone who has drawing skills … (and can) translate ideas into visual concept presentations for open space and pedestrian amenities in the neighborhood. We’d like help in creating approximately three drawings that can help us communicate how important it is for the neighborhood to have open space for everyone who lives in and visits Westwood.” The required skills are further clarified as:
We really need someone who can help with some hand-drawing with pencil or pen. We don’t need technical plan level drawings, just conceptual drawings that are attractive and that can communicate some ideas and alternatives. An understanding of landscape/ architectural standards would be useful, but not necessary. As well, if someone wants to use a computer program to create some ideas, that would be fine too.
If you can help, or want to find out more, contact Susan, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DINING OUT FOR LIFE: 12 West Seattle restaurants are among those participating in the Lifelong AIDS Alliance fundraiser (find the list here, some are participating at lunchtime as well as dinnertime).
DESIGN REVIEW FOR ADMIRAL PROJECT: 2743 California on the north side of PCC, proposed for a 3- to 4-story medical-office building (here’s our report on the project from 3 weeks ago), 6:30 tonight, Southwest Precinct meeting room (official meeting notice here).
FINAL PARKS PLAN MEETING: 6:30 pm, High Point Community Center, last of 7 West Seattle meetings where you can tell city Parks staffers what you think the department should focus on in the next five years. (Here’s our report on last week’s Southwest CC version of the same meeting.)
More West Seattle events for today, tonight, and beyond, can be found here.
(Model of future Sealth/Denny shared campus, looking northward over it, with the new Denny building north of/behind the Sealth gym on the eastern half of the campus)
As promised, here’s the complete update on last night’s SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)-mandated public meeting on the Denny-Sealth project, which turned out to have a further-reaching scope than you might have surmised by looking at advance notice of the meeting. Though there was a formal presentation halfway through — with the contingent of school-district staffers and project consultants/architects almost outnumbering the general-public attendees — the most interesting info was available on and along the easels in the Chief Sealth HS Commons during the first half of the meeting:Read More
Full article to come in the morning. A few toplines: While it was described as an “environmental-checklist meeting,” tonight’s Denny-Sealth project meeting at CSHS was far more sweeping in scope – including four “conceptual” possibilities for the Denny site, once the existing school has been demolished, and a chance for attendees to informally “vote” on priorities for spending the $10 million “extra” in Sealth renovation money. Also, the district admitted it fumbled another commitment to get Denny-Sealth info on its website in a timely manner; because the materials for tonight’s meeting were not posted earlier this month as promised — in response to an audience question, a district official said it just went up “this afternoon” — the comment period for this phase of the project will be extended till May 9. (The huge volume of material just posted online hours before the meeting is available here.)
TONIGHT: 6:30 pm, Chief Sealth High School, the next public meeting regarding the Denny-Sealth construction project — as described by Westwood Neighborhood Council president Steve Fischer, “The School District has issued their Environmental Determination; the Appeal period closes shortly. Copies of the Environmental Checklist will be available for the community to review. For those who are interested, they should attend the meeting and see what the District is proposing.”
TOMORROW: The Seattle School Board agenda includes several items related to the Denny-Sealth project – somewhat technical but if you follow the links to the attached documents, there are a few more project-plan specifics to be learned.
Archived WSB coverage of Denny-Sealth can be found here.
In the months preceding the Seattle School Board vote to tear down Denny Middle School and build its replacement on the Chief Sealth High School campus (archived coverage here), one big question was, “what would happen to the Denny site?” The Westwood Neighborhood Council is watching that especially closely, and the sketch you see above is courtesy of WNC president Steve Fischer; he got it from Robert Evans, who’s working with Seattle Public Schools on the Denny/Sealth project. Fischer explains: “The graphic, as it was described to me by Mr. Evans, shows a ‘tennis center,’ parking lot, and softball field where the current Denny Middle School is situated. Mr. Evans informed me that this was the graphic that was to be sent out with the SEPA determination for the project and only shows the worst case scenario in terms of impervious surface area. Mr. Evans informed me that they intend to still work with the neighborhood on the development of this site.” Reminder, the city Landmarks Preservation Board considers the landmark nominations for Denny and Sealth — submitted as part of the required process in this project — this Wednesday afternoon, 3:30 pm, 40th floor, Municipal Tower downtown. (More details here.)
Thanks to Westwood Neighborhood Council president Steve Fischer for sending word that as part of the process in the Denny Middle School rebuild/Chief Sealth High School renovations shared-campus project, Seattle Public Schools has submitted landmark nominations for Denny and Sealth. (This is a required part of the process because of the buildings’ age; before significant work, or teardown in the case of DMS, occurs, the city must determine whether they merit landmark designation.) The Landmarks Preservation Board will have a public hearing on both nominations during its meeting at 3:30 pm next Wednesday (40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown; other West Seattle items are on the agenda including approval of the Hiawatha Playfield project and Fauntleroy Church window work, since both involve landmarks). Also, there’s word of a SPS-sponsored public meeting April 22 at CSHS cafeteria, 6:30 pm, to review the “environmental checklist” for the Denny/Sealth project. Meantime, we were at Sealth today and noticed easels are up in the commons, with “dot voting” going on to prioritize 30 possible projects that could be funded with the money the school is slated to get beyond safety-related renovations. Last update — As we first reported a week ago, the legal challenge to the Denny/Sealth project is proceeding, though SPS confirms it has filed to have the complaint dismissed, because it “believes that the case is without merit.”
One month after the Seattle School Board‘s vote to move Denny Middle School into a new building on the Chief Sealth High School campus (WSB video coverage here), an official challenge to the decision is filed. We just got a copy; it’s filed in the name of 12 individuals and one union (Operating Engineers). The legal documents say the individuals are concerned about “property values, crime, and other effects” of the move, as well as the safety of a 6-12 campus; the union, which represents classified school workers, says it’s concerned about job loss. The filing also contends, among other things, that the decision was made without “following the procedural requirements for citizen involvement required by the school closure statute.” This is filed in King County Superior Court. We will pursue district comment tomorrow.