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More students | Editorial
Yes, it is true. More construction, more traffic and more people are coming to Mercer Island and the Town Center. New developments in the Town Center are planned, and one is underway — the Aviara on 76th Avenue S.E. That project will include 166 apartments, 5,444 square feet of retail space and 312 underground parking spaces. The news of the sale of the Hudsman property last November means that more construction is likely for 76th Avenue S.E. in the foreseeable future. Plans are pending at city hall for The Mercer, Phase II, another mixed-use development that will be built across the street, bringing 85 more living units.
And along with more housing and cars in the Town Center, there will be children — children who will attend Mercer Island public schools. There are at least three points in the Town Center where school buses already stop to pick up school children. Presumably, those children would remain in Island schools whether or not they stay in apartments or if their families move into larger homes on the Island. This is just one trend that supports the reasons underlying the need for more classroom space. The school district facilities are not only overcrowded now, but will only become more so as time goes on. More space for learning is needed — whether it is science labs or technology-centered learning spaces or conventional classrooms.
The Mercer Island School District is right to look ahead and prepare to upgrade and/or replace school facilities here. Many people have worked together to evaluate the issues regarding the need for and the design of 21st Century schools. It is a task that no one has taken lightly. Island citizens, however, are also correct in questioning the methods used to come to those conclusions. School administrators have worked long and hard on this — those concerned about the concept are just becoming acquainted with the schools work. However, there is not much time for everyone to be satisfied with the plans. There is never enough time. That is why we have leaders — those whom we elect to consider these issues and make such decisions. That is why we put these matters and our leaders to a vote.