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City looking for volunteers for new Arbor Heights Elementary committee

Committee will evaluate zoning modifications needed to build school by 2016

Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods is looking for community volunteers to serve on a Arbor Heights Elementary Departure Advisory Committee.

Here are the details from the city:

Here’s your chance to serve on an advisory committee that will recommend whether to grant zoning modifications needed to allow the construction of the new elementary school

The Seattle School District is requesting a waiver (departure) from some City zoning regulations the construction of a new Arbor Heights Elementary School for 490 to 660 students. The District plans to demolish the existing building and construct a new building. The School District is requesting modifications to allow greater height, less that required parking and on-site bus loading.

The process for considering these requests includes hearings before an advisory committee composed of neighbors and School District and City representatives.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is seeking interested persons in the community to serve on this Committee. The role of the Committee will be to conduct public meetings, gather and evaluate public comment, and either recommends granting the requests with or without conditions to minimize its impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, or recommend denial of the zoning modifications. The City will make the final decision.

The Committee will be composed of eight representatives from the following groups:

1. A person residing within 600’ of the proposed site.
2. A person owning property or a business within 600’ of the proposed site.
3. Two representatives of the general neighborhood.
4. A representative-at-large to represent city-wide education issues.
5. Two representatives of the Arbor Heights PTSA.
6. A representative of the Seattle School District.

If you are interested in serving on this committee, please send a letter of interest by either e-mail or regular mail to:

Steve Sheppard
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
700 5th Avenue Suite 1700
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649


Letters of interest should be received by November 6, 2013

For more information call Steve Sheppard, Department of Neighborhoods at 206-684-0302.

Students, staff and parents at Arbor Heights Elementary have been pleading for a new building for years as their current southern West Seattle facility slowly crumbles around them. As part of levy-paid improvements around the city, Seattle Public Schools announced earlier this year they will tear down the existing building and plan to replace it with a modern, larger school that can hold over 650 students (350 is the current capacity).

SPS has stated they hope to have the new school completed by Sept. of 2016, in time for the 2016-17 school year. During construction staff and students will teach and learn at the Boren building on Delridge Way S.W. where the K-5 STEM program is currently operating.

In an interview with the Herald earlier this year, Arbor Heights Principal Christy Collins shared the importance of a modern building for future students:

“The reason we are excited about moving up into that timeline (of a 2016 completion) is our school feeds into Denny International Middle 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.”

Denny Middle School shares a modern building with Chief Sealth High School.

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