Letter | School bond process
March 7, 2012 · 10:39 AM
The district’s almost $200,000,000 bond measure may have been long in the planning process, but is short on concrete plans. If overcrowding is to be addressed, why demolish and rebuild three elementary schools over six to eights years when building one new additional school over three years will equally solve the overcrowding issue?
Furthermore, rather than building three elementary schools, for which no plans have been drawn, designing and building one new school would allow students, teachers and district to evaluate the new construction: which design features are desirable and which need modification.
If other schools then need to be built, experience could inform the new design and construction. Earthquake safety, already addressed in the school remodel 15 years ago, is also not a reason to destroy and rebuild. The $196,275,000 does not deal with rebuilding the administration building, which will also need to be razed; does not specify what changes will be made to the high school, other than adding some science classrooms; does not include schematic drawings or proposed design from which to obtain accurate cost estimates; and refers to an amorphous North Mercer Master plan along with some unnamed “other improvements.”
It seems that there is nothing specific, nothing detailed to assure Mercer Island citizens that costs have been objectively and accurately determined. Without specified plans and schematics, which have not been done, a precise estimate cannot be determined. Uncertain objectives yield certain cost overruns. The only question that remains is: how soon after this $196,275,000 bond will another bond measure be placed on the ballot with equally pressing and dire issues that only the bottomless wallets of Mercer Island citizens can solve?