Thursday, June 25, 2015

Capacity Planning (peering into the tea leaves)

Since its come up again let's talk about capacity in its own thread.


There has not been much official change in the plans for HCC on the north side. Construction has started on the Wilson Pacific site and the school board recently chose names for the buildings

Here's the project status page with the latest excerpt:

May 2015

The City issued the Master Use Permit, the demolition permit and the grading permit. The notice to proceed was issued to Lydig, the contractor, regarding the early work bids for abatement, demolition, earthwork and murals relocation. The site has been completely fenced and abatement has begun in the gym and cafeteria buildings. Work continued on other construction documents and the easement application for 92nd Street on the west side of the site. Advertisements were made for the structural bid package. Lydig is prepping for the bidding process for mechanical, electrical and plumbing work.

And for completeness here's the Lincoln Building  schedule:
Note: construction is still slated for June 2018

As you can see the current Cascadia building has less total capacity (660) already than next year's estimated student body size per Rina (800)


Anonymous said...

Do others think that NE kids are going to end up at Cascadia?

Benjamin, from your link to the BEX page, I reviewed the Thornton Creek project. I notice that it now says that the existing Decatur building will be used to "address predicted elementary enrollment in northeast Seattle."


Kindermom said...

I feel like there will be a NW/NE split, and I wish the program would get some advanced notice so they could split within the Lincoln building before moving. Imagine if the two halves could work out details of a split within a joined space, so the teachers could actually do it as a team. But I can't imagine that (1) SPS would reveal their hand even if (2) they actually had a plan and (3) a split wouldn't be balanced (500/300?), so they don't want any haggling too soon.

Anyone know what the talk is on the name? Is it Cascadia as the board voted, or is there a holdup?

Lynn said...

The building name cannot be changed without another board vote.

Anonymous said...

Rina is the planning principal for Cascadia. If there is a split, the NE is going to be in lesser position because there will not be a pro-self-contained planning principal. Will it be the TC principal?


Anonymous said...

This thread is destructive.

It inculcates misunderstanding and actively solicits speculation.

You're playing with fire, for NO productive reason.

There are going to be 4 new board members in December. Don't give them the rope to hang kids.

The plan for middle school HCC by staff during growth boundaries: WP middle school & JAMS. Then the Board mucked it up badly, & now Hamilton is going to have 1,150 students this September. Way overcapacity. There will be emergency mitigation next year. One that didn't have to happen. So, the Lincoln kids going there now for 6th grade in Sept? Who knows what will happen to them for their 7th or 8th grades.

Armchair quarterbacking doesn't work. And really: there's no such thing as a school with '660 seats'. There is such a thing as a school with 45 classrooms and 3 major pullout teaching stations. Having a few portables is typical in the north and not problematic. To suggest it is feeds into the nasty stereotype of APP parents! Everyone else in the north is putting up with portables. HCC & WP will too.

Another myopic issue? Making nonHCC families collateral damage in an HCC elementary split!

Being selfish and suggesting splits that will harm the teaching corp, the program, the Lincoln kids, AND affect every single family in the north, because you don't want a few portables? You can't just change 1 boundary for 1 school, you have to touch them all! They are all linked dominoes. Splitting HCC will force split siblings for families who don't have any HCC students as all K5 boundaries are changed again.

The Decatur building? Don't think so. The neighbors aren't going to stand for the district's renigging of the plan to tear it down. They may tolerate a preschool, little bodies, few bodies, few hours, but not 10 extra buses than 400 extra kids.

Persist in split talk, and guess what? Try Olympic Hills. Think OH wants you in their new OH building? Think their learning model is simpatico with yours? More like diametrically opposed. NE families, think about that before you blather on. OH doesn't have room anyway, because the growth in Lake City AND the hidden Seattle enrollment in Shoreline will NEED the WHOLE OH building. Of course, neither the new board nor Tolley 'remembers' this. And Libros is long gone. This district repeatedly makes major OOPS and then has no solutions to fix their mistakes (close West Seattle schools, open them all right back up; close Meany, open a right back up; move NOVA, move them right back).

Opening a new school with portables isn't a problem: the ratio of portable to building at WP will be tiny compared to Bagley.

The attendance area assignment system is NOT call the neighborhood assignment system for reason! No families are guaranteed the closest school! Or even a school that prevents them from having to cross a major arterial! Look at the funky boundaries of Sacajawea. Long and skinny. Look at Ballard, NOT assigned to Ballard high school. Look at the closing of TT Minor. Being challenged to get a safe route to school is a shared pain experience for families, and that has nothing to do with HCC.

Mouth off if you must about Lincoln, carving up and manipulating the whole chessboard of the north like some kind of fantasy football exercise. Don't be surprised when this causes harm. District staff and directors read blogs. If they catch a whiff this is expected, acepted, boom! Chaos will rain down. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you're solving any problems with this wild, uninformed speculation (only more capacity solves a capacity problem, what your engaging in a shuffling deck chairs). Swirling around real kids and families hurts them all. Its arrogant and only causes harm.

Dr. Nyland doesn't get it and the most of board doesn't either. Listening to Director Carr is so painful now, she has thrown in the towel on logic.

A large school is not a problem. Look around the country, there 1,000 student elementaries.


Anonymous said...

"The Decatur building? Don't think so. The neighbors aren't going to stand for the district's renigging of the plan to tear it down. They may tolerate a preschool, little bodies, few bodies, few hours, but not 10 extra buses than 400 extra kids."

There is a lot to chew in your post, but this bugged me. These aren't 400 "extra" kids. These are 400 kids who live in NE Seattle, and belong in NE Seattle as much as anyone. You say yourself that large schools are not a problem, so what is so wrong with a larger Decatur/Thornton Creek?

I don't think speculation about splits is because HCC parents want splits, or are allergic to portables. I think speculation about splits is recognizing the huge enrollment growth in both HCC and SPS generally, and quite reasonably wondering how the district will deal with it. We could add portables to WP and still need to add kids to Decatur. More kids are coming.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Your point is taken, Dragon, but your post is a bit over the top. I did not get the impression HCC families are opposed to portables and/or large schools, so don't make this out to be some sort of "portables aren't good enough for our kids" argument when it's not. Nor do previous posters seem to WANT further splits--so I don't know where you got the idea they are "being selfish" in hypothesizing splits"that will impact non-HCC families. It's pretty clear that families are simply worried about whether these kids will fit at the W-P site as planned--and if they don't, then what?

Your are correct, though, that Cascadia being "built for 660" doesn't mean all of Lincoln can't end up there. We have a lot of schools way over capacity, so this wouldn't be anything new. Hamilton, for instance, was built for something like 800, but will likely have in the 1100s this year--and that's without any portables, since there's no room for them. Packing them in like sardines is the new SPS way. If Cascadia has room for portables, they have more options.

Anonymous said...

The NE kids at Decatur could be its own school, without having to change existing boundaries.

(Not that I think the existing boundaries are likely to remain stable, given current enrollment growth.)

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

You do know, NE Parent, that the capacity at the Decatur building is a mere 241 seats, right?

It is a tiny building.

They won't be able to put portables there with the new large school also there. Not many classrooms in that old building that was promised to be razed. A school of 241 is not an economically feasible model to implement. That is why SPS has plans to make it a preschool space, or, an emergency interim shell. That is why they didn't give it to AS #1/Pinehurst when they were pushed out of their building by the K8 that was in Jane Addams. It is not usable for much, basically.

And, the NE neighborhood enrollment is particularly growing with the construction of many more family housing units, so adding back kids who already left the area to be serviced elsewhere (WP elementary, with temporary accommodation at Lincoln) does NOT help anyone.

That capacity data is per SPS "2012 Enrollment KPI Analysis (without portables)".

Anyone who suggests Decatur does not know the facts. The Thornton Creek community should way in on this one. Aks them about sharing their playground with a second school of 400. See what they have to say. Ask the principal too, not that he would be able to speak his mind to his employer.


Anonymous said...

I'd much rather see the Decatur building torn down after the new building is done but technically there will be ~900 seats between the 2 buildings for an existing school with an enrollment of 360. In addition while some parents really wanted it, TC's principal and teachers are on the record against expansion into a K-8. So purely from a logistical standpoint you could fit another 400 kids onto the site although it would strain common resources and be awkward. That would be an intensely political decision as others have noted. Also assuming portables couldn't provide enough capacity on the WP site, there are more options than this idea. I've always assumed that we would split off QA/Magnolia first given a crisis situation. But you could also kick the problem back onto the feeder schools by changing the model to pull-outs in k-2 and self contained on the WP site for 3-5 (or some variation of that) for instance or raise the eligibility bar until the cohort size fit in the building.

- NoEasySolns

Lynn said...

The district never promised to tear down Decatur. They backed off on locating a neighborhood school there. That's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Clearly I didn't know Decatur is so small. But I do know we need more capacity in the NE. It seems silly to tear down an existing building as we add portables to WP.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

Dragon, as an APP parent I have had my son's schools split twice in the last 4 years and many of his classmates have gone through 3 splits in 6 years. The APP community is just trying to anticipate what the district is going to do with us next, since their planning is often last-minute and ends up impacting the APP community more than anyone else.

Did you know that when the Lowell APP students were moved to Lincoln, they moved to a school with virtually no playground for the 500 kids who would be going there? The parents rallied and raised money and many volunteer hours for 1 large play dome (which can hold about 35 kids). But since it's located in the middle of a dirt area the kids can't play on it much of the year because of the huge amounts of mud they would track into the school after recess. I think they have now transformed part of the parking lot into a de facto play area for recesses. I'm pretty sure that that's the worst play area in all of Seattle's elementary schools, especially for now more than 700 kids.

It's not like we have had some sort of special treatment, or expect any. We also know that one of the main reasons that the district has maintained self-contained programs like Lincoln is that they absolutely do not have any room for those kids in most of their attendance area schools.

Most APP parents I have seen discussing this issue just want a reasonable solution that works for our kids. We know we will probably have to travel farther and put up with other problems that we might not have in our attendance schools, but we are willing to do that so that our kids get an education that's appropriate for their needs, just like any other parent would want.


? said...

Here is how I see it going down.

WP - West Seattle
TM - S
Lowell - Central + QA / Mag
? -NE

ALL will be combined with gen ed/sped programs with self contained HCC classrooms. And no dragon, nobody is hurt from the wild speculation unless you want to be left out of the conversation. We need to formulate what is best for the district because that is going to happen; and plan above is best for the powers that be. Banda's promise Cascadia being only HCC rung untrue then and certainly does now with 200+ more kids.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what is going to happen to WMS when Meany comes on line. How will that affect the number of students, % HCC and the FRL numbers?


SP said...


Your post really misses the heart of the problem with WilPac. I haven't heard even the craziest of APP parents say portables are no good for their kid. With Lincoln at 800 kids next year, where do you peg enrollment in 9/2017 when WilPac opens? Say it only goes to 850 kids which is wishful thinking. The 6 portables that can fit on the WilPac site won't solve the problem.

As an APP parent, I couldn't care less who goes to WilPac, but as a concerned citizen of Seattle, I do care that they are spending $120M on a blank slate and will possibly need to put many, many portables on the property on day 1. That is absolutely horrific planning. And, don't get me started on all the new developments going up around town. Where the heck will those kids go to school? Certainly not in the cute, boutique buildings that are to be built at WilPac. Mega-schools of 1000 as you mention were the answer when building new.

The chance to help our capacity issues was taken away by a lame-ass board. Why didn't they listen to FACMAC?

Anonymous said...

The school district has many sites it could choose to redevelop. in Northeast Seattle, for instance, there are a couple older and very small schools (e.g., Sacajawea) that could be closed and those kids assigned to nearby Wedgwood, Olympic View, or Hazel Wolf. Then, that structure could be torn down and replaced with a state-of-the-art facility similar to Wilson Pacific/Cascadia to house a new NE-wide program (such as an option school or HCC). Whatever the district is going to do, though, it should get moving sooner than later. Seattle is growing, and a lot of the growth is coming from engineers and computer scientists and their families, so it would be reasonable to reckon with increased HCC enrollment well beyond current levels.


Anonymous said...

State of the art. Sorry Simon, ain't going to happen. In fact the idea that Cascadia will be all HCC heck no. I also don't think it will be HCC at all. New building in that neighborhood will not be all HCC and I think when the start talking in 2017 they will say... Too bad.

app parent