The following is a guest post from the Wedgwood Open Space Neighborhood Coalition.
JOIN US TUESDAY, SEPT 11TH AT 7 PM
AT THE WEDGWOOD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
We are in danger of losing a vital open space. Right now, the Seattle School District is proposing to add a new 650-student K-5 attendance area school on the Thornton Creek School play field. The site would house 1,000 students, plus staff for the two schools. In addition to a new 81,000 square foot building, there would be paved pathways and parking lots. The large open field so many of us enjoy would be gone.
Our community needs places for outdoor exercise. The Seattle Parks Department has identified the southeast section of Wedgwood as lacking in open space, and the 800 Wedgwoodians who helped to create our Vision Plan specifically identified the play field as an asset they wished to enhance. During school hours, young students enjoy outdoor play in Thornton Creek School’s highly-regarded recess program. After hours, the field is heavily used by youth athletic teams, walkers, runners, kite flyers, Frisbee players, and people organizing pick-up baseball and basketball games.
We know that there is an urgent present need for new classrooms in Northeast Seattle. But the new school would not open until 2015, and future needs are not so clear. Calculations done by the School District are in conflict. One set of numbers predicts growth; another predicts a decline in enrollment just as the school begins to accept students.
Schools last a long time. A third of Seattle’s school buildings are fifty or more years old. Is it wise to invest in haste in a project that would
- pave over an open space that may never be replaced,
- create a traffic mess on narrow streets,
- erect a congested campus for young children,
- and degrade the quality of life and property values of near neighbors?
Our best chance to make a difference is right now. In a few weeks, the School Board will vote on the final form of the February Levy. Should the Levy include a new school at Thornton Creek, the odds are very low that it will not be built. If this can happen — without protest — to one part of our community, how safe will we be from other large-scale incursions?
The Wedgwood Open Space Neighborhood Coalition is hosting a community forum beginning at 7 PM on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Avenue NE. We need your support and your ideas. Please join us this coming Tuesday, the 11th of September. We will discuss actions we need to take right away and up-coming public events where citizens may make their views known.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can make a difference.
Call, email or write to school board members including:
Harium Martin-Morris », Board Member for the District we are in.
Director, District III
To email, telephone or write the Seattle School Board office »
Seattle School District
Attention: Board of Directors
PO Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165
Jose Banda », Superintendent of Schools
John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence
2445 3rd Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134
Wedgwood Community Council
Ask the Trustees to take an active role in preserving Thornton Creek Play Field now, when it matters most, with the School Board, the School Superintendent, and the Department of Neighborhoods.