Seattle making plans for new downtown school

The new Northwest School building -- complete with rooftop sports field -- could be a model for a new downtown school at 2nd and Spring (Image: CHS)

The new Northwest School building — complete with rooftop sports field — could be a model for a new downtown school at 2nd and Spring (Image: CHS)

Monday night, Seattle Public Schools will host a meeting to discuss a proposal to create a downtown elementary school by taking over the former Federal Reserve building at 2nd and Spring. It’s not exactly Capitol Hill news except for the fact E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary currently serves as the district’s destination for downtown families.

Here’s information on Monday night’s meeting:

Seattle Public Schools to host a community conversation on the possibility of a downtown school; public tour of Federal Reserve building scheduled

Seattle Public Schools is inviting the public to attend a conversational meeting regarding the possibility of creating a K-5 elementary school in downtown Seattle. After the meeting, at about 7:15 p.m., attendees can take a tour of the nearby Federal Reserve Bank building, a potential location for a downtown school.

When:  6 p.m.,  Monday, July 28

Where: Seattle Central Library in the Microsoft Auditorium, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle

What: A short presentation on what a downtown school might entail, followed by an informal Q&A with Seattle Public Schools staff

Seattle Public Schools enrollment is growing, with an additional 10,000 students expected over the next decade. The District has seen an increase of families in the Downtown area, and voters in 2013 approved the Building Excellence (BEX) capital levy, which included $5 million to begin planning for a downtown school. The District is awaiting information regarding the Federal Reserve Building as a possible location for a downtown school.

Earlier this year, CHS wrote about Lowell’s important role in Seattle’s educational system:

The advanced learning program changes aren’t the only identity crossroads Lowell faces this year. With a continuing uptick in students city wide and shifting school populations, Lowell’s enrollment boundaries will expand this year to include all of downtown. The new boundaries will push Lowell to be ever more nimble and flexible in how it addresses the wide variety of student needs.

Seattle Public Schools has applied for the rights to take over the Federal Reserve building and has a plan to spend $50 million renovating it as a new downtown school:

Currently, 437 elementary school-age students live within a mile of the Federal Reserve Bank, and a total of 1,026 within a mile and a half, yet there has been no school downtown in 65 years, according to school district officials.

In addition to what the new school would mean for Lowell, the addition could also mean changes for Hill parents working near downtown or Pioneer Square who might find the 2nd and Spring location a convenient alternative.

Back at Lowell, the Capitol Hill elementary school is undergoing a major construction project of its own. Work is underway on a near-$1 million seismic upgrade of the building which dates back to 1919. The area has been home to a Seattle school since 1890 — though the original structure was demolished in 1959.

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2 thoughts on “Seattle making plans for new downtown school

  1. fyi a $1m seismic upgrade is not “major construction” at all. most seismic upgrades cost from 5-10m depending on the school. A new school the size of Lowell from the ground up would cost about $25m…just to give readers and idea of the cost of construction today.

  2. So I’m lazy and busy, blizy, anyone else go? Let’s suppose, yes it’s unlikely but my fingers are still crossed, I have a kid in the next five years. What did they say mean to a person like me?