Letter | Board should look at saving existing school buildings
February 1, 2012 · 9:46 AM
Before going out to the voters with a bond request, the School Board should reconsider the current direction being taken to totally demolish and replace every square foot of our existing educational facilities. These buildings have served and supported a level of educational achievement that ranks at the top of the list in the state and in the country. Island residents certainly know this, and many, including myself and family, moved to Mercer Island for the quality of education being provided, not for the bricks and mortar that merely supplement and hopefully complement the learning experience.
Having said this, however, our school buildings are too valuable an asset to be just thrown away only to be replaced by something newer, bigger, and presumably somewhat better than what we are currently using. The question is; does the benefit justify the cost? The recommendation of the 21st Century Facility Planning Committee has led the School Board down a fiscally irresponsible path regardless of whether a 3-1-1 or a 4-1-1 configuration is adopted. Both configurations assume demolition of the existing schools after replacement schools, presumably two stories, are constructed on each site. The 21st Century report, categorically, rejects a remodel/addition option based on false and inaccurate assumptions with regard to site limitations and the constraints of existing building infrastructure.
We may have grown to accept being a “disposable society,” but disposing of our existing school buildings just goes too far.
Trevor Hart, AIA