Patrick Robinson
The replacement of Arbor Heights Elementary in West Seattle has been moved up to 2016 from an earlier projection of 2018.

UPDATE: Arbor Heights Elementary replacement officially moved up to 2016

Arbor Heights Principal Christy Collins confirmed on March 21 that Seattle Public Schools has decided to move the school’s replacement up from 2018 to 2016.

Collins said Arbor Heights staff and students will be at the current school (one in dire need of replacement) for the remainder of this school year and all of next year, then move to the Louisa Boren interim site while the old building is torn down to make room for a new, larger facility.

Tom Redman with Seattle Public Schools confirmed the scheduled completion date for the new school is September of 2016 for the 2016-2017 school year. Students and staff are expected to move to Boren for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.

Funding was secured for the new building with Seattle voters passing two school levies in the February election.

The new school will have room for 650 students while the current building has room for 350, Collins said.

She said while the required bus rides to Boren will be a slight inconvenience, moving into an interim site with better natural lighting, working whiteboards and consistent heat will make it worthwhile.

“The reason we are excited about moving up into that timeline is our school feeds into Denny International Middle School,” Collins said of the middle school that shares a new, modern facility with Chief Sealth International High School. “Moving up in that timeline will allow us to move into a building in ... 2016 where our kids will have access to the same technology that they will see in middle school. The other three schools that feed into Denny … already have that technology at their fingertips, so we were really looking at being at a disadvantage for a long period of time.”

Collins also sees potential for the new school as a gathering spot for Arbor Heights as a whole.

“I think it is going to be the cornerstone for our community,” she said. “My hope is that a new school could be considered Arbor Height’s community center.”

Redman with SPS said Arbor Heights students will share the Boren building on Delridge Way S.W. with K-5 STEM during their interim stay.

SPS staff will begin a "Pre-Design Process" for the new school, with plans to establish a School Design Advisory Team in the future.

UPDATE: The original headline stated the new school would open in 2015 to 2016, based on information from Arbor Heights staff. SPS said the official projected completion date is September of 2016.

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