School district will host three Long Range Facilities Plan community meetings

Mercer Island School District’s Long Range Facilities Plan will return to the spotlight for three community engagement sessions in October in a variety of Island locations.

First up will be an in-person-only meeting from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Islander Middle School commons. A hybrid meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center (the district will release the online stream link as the meeting date nears). Closing out the trio of sessions, attendees can meet in person only at the Mercer Island High School library from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 11.

A letter to the community notes, “The district strongly recommends in-person participation, but a recording of one of the meetings plus an opportunity for input will also be made available for anyone who cannot attend one of the three hosted events.”

As discussed in a previous Reporter story, the plan’s updating process is in the embryonic stages for the committee members. According to the school district website, the committee’s work will include reviewing the prior plan, along with delving into current demographic information, facility condition, vision and mission and the district’s financial status. The update is a continuation of the committee’s work from the 2019-20 process.

The committee consists of Mahlum Architects principal LeRoy Landers, two school board members and a diverse collective of 30-plus community members — from students to parents who work in the architecture and development realms and more.

On the community “hot topic” of facility planning, rebuilding and consolidating, district Superintendent Fred Rundle said in a previous letter to the community that, “Decisions about whether to replace elementary schools, finish the second half of the middle school, add enhancements to the high school, or even close an elementary school are quite a ways away. First, we need to take some of the ideas generated by the committee out to our schools and community for input and feedback.”

In the potential 2025 bond realm, the committee developed four plan options for some school buildings, according to a previous Reporter story:

Scenario A — Address all levels; $279.0 million (tax rate increase, $0.59/$1,000). Scenario B — Focus on elementaries; $298.5 million (tax rate increase, $0.62/$1,000). Scenario C — Finish what we started; $144.5 million (tax rate increase, $0.44/$1,000). Scenario D — Start with an elementary; $160.5 million (tax rate increase, $0.45/$1,000).

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