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School Board Considers Options for North Mercer Master Plan

Following the failed school bond in April, architects presented the Mercer Island School Board with several options on how to move forward at their June 26 retreat with several Master Plan concepts for the North Mercer "Mega Block" property.

The Mercer Island School Board is considering several scenarios for a master plan for the "Mega Block/North Campus" during its June 26 retreat.

The land is an area of school district property that is bound by 88th Ave. SE, SE 40th St., SE 42nd St. and 92nd Ave. SE.

The plans are both a short- and long-term plan for the area that includes a number of schools and community-based facilities, including , , , , , and others.

The conceptual designs presented by Mahlum Architects take several different approaches and are pictured above.

Kendall Watson June 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM
A majority of school board members appeared to move toward options 2, 4, and 6. Grade reconfiguration is definitely on the table, and it looks like building another school building here is getting a friendly reception, based on the poll results released this morning.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 12:17 AM
. Great picture of our School Board in action. They do deserve our thanks for their careful consideration of all the many issues involved. J-
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 12:25 AM
. However "The conceptual designs presented by Mahlum Architects" (good firm) are rather hard to read online. Need to be "clickable" so they enlarge on demand. (PatchTechs know how to do this). J-
Ray Burt June 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Jerry is correct. Hard to read online. Need clickable images. Also, is there a cost associated with each option?
Kendall Watson June 27, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Use your "zoom" on your browser, that should get you in a little closer. I know what you mean, you can't zoom using Patch. They were pretty cagey about price tags because these are only concepts, but Supt. Plano did manage to get out of them that the most expensive options were 3-5, I think, at approximately $100 million. The plan that offered only a renovation of the high school, scenario #6 I think, would cost $10 million to renovate the high school, but then you have to factor in additional costs for the new "School #6". I think and #1 were the lowest cost ones.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM
. Not fair- telling us to zoom when you know we can't "zoom using Patch". K- Pricing out this- or any project- is really not possible without lots more detail. J-
Leon Cohen June 27, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Does any of these options Show a space for Youth Theatre NW? Thank you
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM
. We all hope these skillfully prepared architects' "Presentation Panels" will be presented in "clickable" form- so we can all study them better. I know this can be done because I've seen it elsewhere. AOL may be the one place to put this technical question to (to dangle a participle). Jerry- (remembering Lincoln High School English's Miss Michaelson).
Robert T. Brown June 27, 2012 at 08:32 PM
The full presentation by Mahlum (powerpoint) including the seven design options are available on the MISD's website: http://www.misd.k12.wa.us/board/agenda/documents/062612%20MA_MISD%20mega%20block%20MP%20board%20presentation.pdf
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 09:06 PM
. A great presentation that's well worth detailed study. J-
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM
. I've done my "Due Diligence" as a MI'r. Very Impressed w/ Mahlum's Presentation- and all the good professional skill that went into reparing this. J-
Trevor Hart June 29, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Option 1 is a graphic representation of what many of us have been supporting all along. Namely, tear down that old, outdated, leased-out, retired middle-school / Theater and replace it with a new, state of the art, 2 story, 4th Elementary School. Phase 2 of that option however, (partial High School demo. & new addition with new pool), exceeds the scope of the need to deal with Elementary and Middle School overcrowding. Option 1, Phase 1, however, would be a great kick-start to solving the overcrowding problem by placing a 4th school where it belongs, the North End, and returning all our Elementaries to the 450 student population considered optimal by by the majority of experts in educational delivery and best practices.
Kendall Watson June 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Trevor, do you think the fact that they are "phasing" this means that they will go to the voters twice for two separate bonds? Looks like they didn't poll residents on whether or not they wanted the school district to take on responsibility of rebuilding the pool. But clearly the MISD has taken that on (they now own it and have expressed an intent to keep the pool running, long term). So they'll keep looking for a solution to the pool, which needs major renovation work soon (according to the pool's operator and the MISD).
Kendall Watson June 29, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Hi Leon, wherever you see a mention of the high-school theatre remaining in place as a separate building (in particular, Options 3&4) it appears the MISD & Mahlum is envisioning giving YTN some sort of option in relocating there as a tenant. If there's anyone with more knowledge on this, please feel free to correct me/chime in.
Ira B. Appelman June 29, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Hi Kendall: They did poll on the Mary Wayte Pool, and a clear majority (62%) favors including the pool in a bond issue. The question on page 15 of the EMC Research Mercer Island School District May 2012 Telephone Survey Presentation of Results is as follows: Non-academic projects like renovating Mary Wayte pool and remodeling the high school stadium should be part of a future schools measure: Strongly Agree: 26%; Somewhat Agree: 36%; Somewhat Disagree: 16%; Strongly Disagree: 13% A clear majority (62%) agrees that the pool should be part of the bond issue.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 29, 2012 at 08:52 PM
. A very good comment by Trevor Hart above. Well written and reasoned, it should help all of us to understand the process's validity. J-
Ray Burt June 29, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Trevor...how does Option 1 with a new elementary address the Middle School overcrowding problem? I see how Option 1 with a 5-6 or 7-8 new school, but not the 4th elementary.
Trevor Hart June 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Ray......Option 1, Phase 1, doesn't address an overcrowded Middle School. I don't believe Mahlum was tasked with providing solutions to overcrowding throughout the District. I believe they were limited to Mega-block Master Planning with a 6th school added to the campus. That's my take, but I'm only guessing at what the District asked them to do.
Ray Burt June 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Ah, that makes sense Trevor. Thank you for the clarification.
Kendall Watson June 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Trevor: Option 1, Phase 1 is intended to address school district overcrowding in both the elementary and middle school level by building "School #6" and making it the MISD's 2nd middle school. Option 1 envisions stripping the 5th grade out of elementary schools and then putting them into the middle school level, which now has two buildings instead of one. Does that make sense? Note also that these scenarios do not involve any sort of traffic analysis.
Trevor Hart June 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Kendall........I was not at the June 26 meeting when these options were presented, so you may have heard something different from what is described for Option 1, Phase 1. As I read the description of Option 1, Phase 1, it states, "BUILD SCHOOL 6, A 450 STUDENT ELEMENTARY OR A 650 STUDENT 5-8 OR 7-8 MIDDLE SCHOOL". My preference is the 4th elementary option and not a 2nd middle school on this mega-block site. Any expansion needed for the middle school level should be done at the existing middle school site. Having prepared many of these quick site studies throughout my career as an Architect, it is clear to me that Mahlum Architects were given a task by the District that was limited to studying Master Plan options for the mega-block, and not the larger problem of overcrowding throughout the District. Therefore, any option put forth regarding developement of the mega-block, high school site, must be viewed in the larger context of the overcrowding problem throughout the District, and have a sensible fit within the larger picture of the greater problem.
Kendall Watson July 02, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Trevor — you're right. I missed the word "Elementary" as I was transcribing what I could see from the photos I took. Thanks for the correction. I think a few of the School Board directors were disappointed that there were options for the mega block that didn't offer a middle school overcrowding solution.
Trevor Hart July 03, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Kendell, what gave you the impression that some school board member were disapointed that options didn't include a middle school option when in fact Option 1 did offer this as an alternate? Check the language of the phasing on Option 1. As I stated previously, I personally do not support this middle school option on this site..
Kendall Watson July 03, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Trevor, I don't think the school board member who raised this point, Director Adair Dingle, was in favor of shifting the 5th grade to middle schools. That was my understanding of her objection. Quote: "Options 1 and 7 don't do anything about overcrowding issue."
Ken Glass July 04, 2012 at 12:58 AM
One advantage of a middle school on the site (or a 7-8 school) is that kids in that school could take advantage of high school offerings, if qualified and interested. It also avoids the problem of co-mingling K-5 kids with high schoolers.

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