UPDATE 1: HERE is the link to the presentation materials used during the District’s 3 community meetings in April 2012 regarding the BEX IV Capital Levy. Of particular note, slides 7 and 8 show a projected increase of over 800 seats in elementary and almost 900 seats in middle school by 2020. The presentation materials also project an increase of $4 – $225 additional cost per year, per home owner depending upon which action alternative the District chooses.
The public elementary and middle schools in NE Seattle and around Wedgwood are packed and enrollment continues to grow. This isn’t news (see HERE, HERE, and HERE). The Seattle Public School District (District) has been working on capacity management planning for some time now with periodic public meetings with each new iteration of their plan. K-5 enrollment projections for the Eckstein Service Area, shown on Page 3 HERE, estimate 570 more students by the 2015-2016 school year (4,029 students in 2011/2012 to 4,599 students in 2015/2016). As a result of this surging enrollment, the District feels as though portables alone cannot solve the demand and a new school is necessary. So, in February 2013, the District is planning on including construction of a new K-8 school on the Thornton Creek Elementary School site as part of the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy.
This past Saturday, I spoke with Harium Martin-Morris, the School Board Member for District III (Wedgwood’s district). Mr. Martin-Morris emphasized the need for this new school at this particular site. The specific details for the new school are not yet known, but it is proposed to be a K-8 school for 650 to 800 students (per conversation with Mr. Martin-Morris). The new school would be an Attendance Area school while the existing Thornton Creek School would continue as an Alternative School. While we have not seen any site plans for the new K-8 school, Mr. Martin-Morris explained that the school would generally be located where the current ball fields are located.
The District has begun the environmental review for three different action alternatives along with a No Action alternative within its Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Under each action alternative, the new K-8 school is included. The Wedgwood Community Council is still collecting information on this proposal and has decided to refrain from endorsing or opposing this proposal. Instead, the WCC will only attempt to provide accurate information to the community from both sides so parents and neighbors can make their own decisions.
As part of the project’s environmental review, the public comment period ends this Friday, May 25th.
Written comments in regards to the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement can be sent to the following address:
Noel Treat, SEPA Responsible Official
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence
2445 3rd Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98134
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will provide more details and updates as we get them. In the mean time, let us know what you think about a new school on the Thornton Creek Elementary site.