Friday, February 7, 2014

Q & A about the Meany School renovation/rebuilding project

On Jan 29, 2014, at 9:35 AM, Gonzales, Vincent R wrote:

Hello Debrah,
See below the response to your questions outlined in your email last week.   I look forward to our site meeting with SDOT and the SSD Risk Manager on Feb. 7th to further discuss your concerns.

We would like to request that you, the architects, and whoever will actually manage the Meany property, set up a separate meeting with the Miller Neighborhood Group to discuss the proposed changes at Meany and the impacts on the neighborhood caused by those changes. We  are concerned that if the first public meeting  with the community is  design oriented and doesn't address concerns (and proposed mitigations) then it will be something of a repeat of the SDOT/ Greenway meeting.  No one needs that.

 The proposed changes at Meany will undeniably have huge impacts of this neighborhood, and the quality of living here. We strongly encourage you to address head on with the neighbors the following issues;
1.            Can you show from where the 850 students will come from? In the last meeting a slide was shown of the feeder schools which included Montlake, Stevens, Lowell, McGilvra, Madronna, and Bailey-Gatzer. It has been our understanding that Bailey-Gatzer will be a feeder into Washington M.S. Last we heard both Leschi and Van Asselt would be included as feeder schools into Meany. Can you update this, and give the projected student population numbers coming from each of the feeder elementary schools?
The elementary schools in the Meany attendance area are: Tops K-8, Montlake, McGilvra, Lowell, Stevens, Leschi and John Muir.  The projected enrollment for Meany MS is 712 on opening day of September 2017.  This projected opening day enrollment is based on enrollment data gathered from the schools listed above.  If growth in SSD enrollment continues as projected, Meany MS will reach a capacity of 850 students by school year 2022-2023.    
The map of the approved future boundary of Meany MS is located at:
2.            How will the existing building house 850 students? Use the floor plans to demonstrate the numbers and how classes will accommodate those numbers. The last time Meany supported numbers anywhere close to 800 (and, btw, we think 700 has been the largest number of students at Meany in the last 35 years) there were 10 to 12 portable classrooms where the Miller Park lawn and parking lot now exist.  Portables in the park will not be allowed here again so can you show how the building will be able to support 850 students?
At the final SDAT #6 scheduled for February 4th the Architect will have conceptual diagrams demonstrating how the existing building meets the requirements to handle a student capacity of 850.  Additionally prior to the BEX IV Levy the District evaluated the Meany buildings existing number of classrooms, Resource/ELL classrooms, Self –Contained rooms. CTE Rooms, computer labs, etc. and concluded that a 850 student capacity was possible based on the program needs for a comprehensive neighborhood middle school.
Upon completion of the 1961 addition Meany MS had 38 teaching stations.   The curriculum requirements and the spaces that support the programs have changed over the years to match the times. The existing school building meets the current comprehensive middle school education specifications by re-assigning existing teaching rooms.  The Meany MS building will have 38 teaching stations the same number that Meany had in 1961.
3.            How did the district come up with the number of 5 buses that are the expected number to be needed for students outside the "no bus radius"? Is it correct that Bailey-Gatzer should not be included as a feeder to Meany, but Leschi and Van Asselt would, and they would  require buses?
The number of buses is based on the new attendance boundary for Meany MS, the 2 mile walk boundary (students within 2 mile radius of school do not receive school bus service), the transportation area and the time the buses would have to pick up eligible students that live beyond the 2 mile walk boundary.   The District estimates 5 regular education buses (250 students), plus special needs buses.  The number of special need buses is determined by how many eligible special needs students attend Meany MS.
Note:  Currently there are 12 regular education buses that drop off kids from throughout the city because both the NOVA and World School programs are not neighborhood based programs.   There will be significant drop in school bus traffic at Meany MS when it opens as a comprehensive neighborhood middle school.   Also because middle school students are not old enough to drive you can expect a drop in cars driven by students (NOVA and World School- High School Programs) into the neighborhood.  Thus improving the amount of available parking in the neighborhood during school hours.  
The elementary schools in the Meany attendance area are: Tops K-8, Montlake, McGilvra, Lowell, Stevens, Leschi and John Muir.  Bailey and-Gatzer and Van Asselt will not feed into Meany.  
4.            What will the district do to manage and mitigate traffic and parking impacts on the neighborhood?  If there are reduced buses, there will be an increase in parent pick up and drop off.  How will the school manage parent pick up and drop off?
At the recent Eco-Charrette it was discussed that the neighborhood needs to advocate for getting Meany on the list of schools for SDOT infrastructure planning and installation funding, to support the City Safe Routes to School Plan.   
I would also like to propose a site/walk around tour with you, our SSD Risk Manager and Brian Dougherty from SDOT.   Additionally Meany MS is listed on the agenda at the interagency School Traffic Safety Committee, which meets once a month.   The goal of these meetings is to review and make necessary recommendations with SDOT to improve the safety of our students to and from school.
There may be an increase in parent pick up and drop off traffic for 20-30 minutes twice a day.  There is no data that I have that supports or refutes this assumption.      
5.            Will the district sign and record with the county covenants between the school and the neighborhood restrictions and management of parking and traffic, similar to those developed between TOPS and the Eastlake neighborhood?  (Can you get a copy of that agreement for all of us to look at, or do we need to do that?)
There is no record of county covenants between the Eastlake Community and the Seattle School District.  The TOPS project did required a Master Use Permit and SEPA review to be issued due to the scope of the project at that particular school site.  The TOPS project scope included the addition of 23,000 SF to an existing public school.   The Department of Development and Planning has record copies of the MUP Appeal and Directors Decision available for your review.  In those documents there may be some requirements related to parking and traffic that SSD had to address as a requirement of the MUP.
In contrast the Meany MS scope is an interior renovation/reconfiguration of the building.  There is no increase in building footprint or square footage.  There is also no change in occupancy type or user function.  As mentioned above on item #2, there is no increase in teaching stations. In past experience with Seattle DPD there appears to be no land use issues that would require the project to be submitted for Master Use Permit or SEPA review.  I  have not had formal conversations regarding the renovation/reconfiguration phase of the project with DPD but historically with other SSD buildings that had similar scope as the Meany MS project there was no threshold that was crossed to require a MUP.  A pre-application meeting will be set in the near future to confirm that no MUP or SEPA will be required.        
PARKING:   SMC 23.54.015 TABLE C FOOTNOTE (7):  For public schools, when an auditorium or other place of assembly is demolished and a new one built in its place, parking requirements are determined based on the new construction. When an existing public school on an existing public school site is remodeled, additional parking is required if any auditorium or other place of assembly is expanded or additional fixed seats are added. Additional parking is required as shown on Table C for 23.54.015 for the increase in floor area or increase in number of seats only. If the parking requirement for the increased area or seating is 10 percent or less than that for the existing auditorium or other place of assembly, then no additional parking is required.
In a previous discussion you asked about information regarding SDOT Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) program.   SDOT forwarded me the link below on this program.
Debrah Walker
Tami Broadhead
Anne Schwab
Vince Gonzales
Project Manager
Capital Projects
Seattle Public Schools
Phone: 206.252.0151
Fax: 206.252.0573
LEED Green Associate

Lastly, fyi, here is a bit of what I've learned out about Edmund Meany, which makes me feel much better about his name sake. Maybe getting his profile out could become part of the remake of this school and it's name; 

Edmond Meany was one of the University of Washington's most notable history and forestry professors. His passion for state history helped promote the region at the 1893 Columbian Exposition and at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expostion. A true renaissance man, Meany was also a journalist, a botanist, a State Representative, a playwright and -- in his later years -- a mountain climber. He was well-loved by his students, and a lecture hall, hotel, school, ski lodge, mountain peak, and mountain crest have been named in his honor.  In 1903 he honored Chief Joseph by bringing the aged Nez Perce leader to Seattle to meet with the public. Until Chief Joseph's death, Meany advocated for his return to his homeland in the Wallowas. Meany was a friend and supporter of Edward Curtis and his work documenting North American Indians. Meany was involved with erecting monuments at American Camp and English Camp in the San Juan Islands (home of the famous Pig War) and at the site the Denny Party landing at Alki Point in 1851.

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