Southwest District Council discusses property projects

By Simone Alicea

Southwest District Council discusses property projects
By Simone Alicea

Tweet: SPS and City Light talk about building projects in West Seattle at SWDC meeting Wednesday. New schools and possible parks on the agenda.

Seattle Public Schools and Seattle City Light spoke at the Southwest District Council meeting Wednesday about ongoing and possible building projects throughout West Seattle.

Joe Wolf, SPS’s K-12 planning coordinator, updated the council on three school building projects in the area, namely the remodeling of Arbor Heights Elementary, the reopening of Fairmount Park Elementary and the work on the Genesee Hill building as a new home for Schmitz Park Elementary.

Arbor Heights and Schmitz Park are set to open in 2016 with either 490 or 660 seats, and current Arbor Heights students would be housed at Boren School for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 years. Fairmount Park is projected to open in 2014 with 500 seats. All three schools are K-5.

Some council members voiced concern about the large size of these schools and the uncertainty of building plans, particularly in the case of the Genesee Hill building where neighbors had petitioned to use that space as a park.

Wolf said the size of the schools is intended to help clear campuses of portables and that the opening of Fairmount Elementary may ease crowding at West Seattle Elementary once new school zoning is drawn up. He was not able to speak to the building plans specifically, but welcomed any concerns over email.

The money for these projects comes from the Building Excellence IV levy approved by Seattle voters ( in February.

Meanwhile Seattle City Light has six surplus substation properties in West Seattle and White Center as well as three others in Burien, SeaTac and Ranier Beach. Dave Barber from City Light said these properties are up for use by other departments in the area as they did with surplus substations in Northeast Seattle last year.

This study of surplus properties means that they could be transferred to another public agency, sold to a private entity or kept by City Light. Other substations have been converted into pocket parks and the Rainer Beach substation is being considered for a stormwater retention facility. There are no plans for the six substations in West Seattle, but City Light wanted neighborhood councils to be aware of their existence.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included Night Out ( on Aug. 6, an event organized by the Seattle Police Department by neighborhood to talk about neighborhood safety. Anyone can organize an activity for their neighborhood an may even qualify for matching funds ( for their project. The deadline for such funds is July 8.

The council also appointed a subcommittee to begin writing grants for a historical and landmark survey of California Avenue.

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