GSNC and district seeking public input on Genesee Hill school design

GSNC is pleased to announce that Kerrie Schurr, the group’s Communications Chair, has been selected to represent the council on the Seattle School District’s Design Advisory Team for the new Genesee Hill school building (future location of the Schmitz Park program, if the capital levy passes in February). This is a great opportunity for the community to have input into the design considerations, either via the council or directly to the district at the Community Conversation for this project. The Community Conversation will be held on Monday, November 19, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Schmitz Park Elementary School. A second Community Conversation will be held during the week of January 21 (details forthcoming).

At the short (1-hr.) GSNC meeting last Thursday evening, those in attendance came up with the initial list below of desired features for the new Genesee Hill school. Additional ideas may be submitted to gsncouncil@gmail.com by 5 p.m. Sunday, November 18.

1. Good traffic flow  around the site for buses and cars, plus onsite parking

2. Indoor and outdoor meeting spaces that could be used by the community as well as the school

3. Garden with integrated community-school involvement (would build on current community garden)

4. Green space, preferably with preservation of native plants

5. Emergency location in event of a major disaster

6. Building to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified, preferably to Gold Standard (if budget allows)

7. Building scale and size to fit in with the neighborhood while minimizing the footprint to preserve green space

8. Good drainage on the property

9. A cistern under the building to capture water for garden use

Some other ideas that were discussed and may warrant further consideration: Preserve the sledding hill; include electric car charging stations in the parking lot; preserve community access through the property. Two controversial areas that were discussed were whether to consider a dog park (but district/city rules would not allow it); and whether to keep the large evergreens (district staff see them as a safety concern in the event of windstorms). One meeting attendee pointed out that the trees were not there in 1965 when his children attended Genesee Hill School.

One possible area of concern: Whether the site has any soil contamination from the old Asarco smelter in Tacoma.

One area that was overlooked in the discussions (but will likely be added) is optimizing safety and security at the site (i.e., designing in such a way as to discourage illegal activity such as drug dealing).

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