Tuesday, September 23, 2014

School District Holding Important Meeting Tonight On Eckstein Middle School Building Conditions

Alli Sweet & Monica Mace, Voice of  NE Seattle Schools (VNESS) Co-Chairs, sent the Blog Staff information about a meeting hosted by the Seattle Public Schools for all present and future Eckstein families, tonight from 6-7pm in the Eckstein auditorium to hear about and participate in a conversation regarding serious concerns about the status of the buildings at the middle school, the reference school for Laurelhurst.

The information sent says:

"Please Attend Meeting with SPS Regarding Eckstein's Building Condition

Families and staff are invited to conversational meeting regarding Eckstein building condition:
Seattle Public Schools is inviting Eckstein Middle School’s families and staff to attend a conversational meeting regarding the school’s building condition on Tuesday, September 23 from 6:00- 7:00 p.m. in the Eckstein auditorium. Attendees will hear about work that has been done in the past, as well as this summer and what is scheduled for the summer of 2015. Attendees will be able ask questions and provide input and feedback to the District’s Capital Projects and Planning staff."
Background information which you may share at your discretion:
VNESS would like to encourage all present and future Eckstein community members to attend this meeting.  Our show of strength around the building issues is critical.  We have been working alongside staff, students, community members, and state legislators to address the maintenance backlog at Eckstein.
In 2009, a Site Assessment and Analysis was conducted by MENG.  The assessment indicates a $23.2 million dollar maintenance backlog, which was the highest in the district at that time.  You can view the details of the Eckstein summary here, beginning on page 47:
An updated study was to be conducted by July 2014, but the assessment is not yet available on the district web site as far as we are able to tell.
We are fortunate that Senator David Frockt, Representative Gerry Pollet, and Representative Jessyn Farrell have been incredibly supportive of community concerns with regard to the building condition, and have been engaged in dialog with the district to address the concerns.
We are grateful that the district is now open to addressing these very real concerns with our community.  Senator Frockt and Representative Pollet have indicated that they will be in attendance as well.
Attached is a list of priority concerns generated by teachers, students, parents, and other community members.  We hope to present this list to the district in advance of the meeting so they can address these priorities.  If you would like to add an item to the list, please email Alli Sweet at adsweet@msn.com no later than Thursday, September 18.
As we all know, Eckstein is an amazing school with incredible teachers, staff and students.  The start of this school year has been nothing short of awesome.  The community has been right sized (400 fewer students) thanks to the opening of JAMS, portables have been removed from the site, students have room to move, and everyone is off to a great start.
Our hope is to bring the building up to speed to create an equitable learning environment for students and teachers that reflects the amazing school that Eckstein is.
So please, show your support and help us fill the Eckstein auditorium on Tuesday, September 23 from 6:00- 7:00 p.m.  And please forward this email to all who may have a present or future interest in the condition of the building.
Thank you for your continued support
Monica Mace & Alli Sweet
VNESS Co-Chairs
Eckstein Building Condition Concerns & Questions
Prepared by Voice of NE Seattle Schools
September 16, 2014
Specific Timeline
• Can the district provide a specific timeline for repairing the physical structure at Eckstein?
• Is Eckstein slated to be part of the BEX V levy?
• If so, the BEX V levy is a 5 year levy which is 4 years out (assuming it passes). Does this mean
that it could be up to 9 years before Eckstein is renovated?
• Eckstein has not been renovated since 1968.
• According to the 2009 MENG Site Assessment and Analysis, Eckstein had a $23.2+
million maintenance backlog, which was the highest in the entire district at that time.
• If a remodel is truly 5-9 years out, what will be done in the meantime to bring the building up to
speed and create an equitable learning environment at Eckstein?
• Is there emergency funding that can be pursued at the state level (State Distressed Building
Funds) to address building concerns?
Water Quality
• When was the water quality at Eckstein last tested?
• Where are the results published?
• Why is the water in the bathrooms non-potable, and why is this water acceptable for hand
• While the water fountains are operable, water is often brown and murky with hard matter in it.
Why is this? Is it truly safe and potable? If so, should students and staff be expected to drink
such water?
• Can water coolers be provided?
Air Quality
• When was the air quality at Eckstein last tested?
• Where are the results published?
• Eckstein houses many students with health impairments that may be affected by air quality.
• Are there functioning air filters in the building that are regularly maintained and/or changed?
• There are many studies regarding optimal temperatures for learning and workplace
• Many classrooms at Eckstein are frequently outside of those ranges (normal being 68-76). This
• On a sunny day, many of the rooms are in the upper 70’s to 100+ on an extremely hot day.
• In the winter, rooms are frequently very cold (one day a teacher noted that her classroom was
• Additionally, mandatory district and state testing is happening on days when classrooms are
productivity. There are also studies on test scores and how they are affected by extremes in
heat and cold.
inequity plays out daily in kids focusing more on their comfort level than on learning.
exceeding 85 degrees (it was 87 on the day students took the reading MAP test in one room).
This is an equity issue for students as those test scores follow them throughout their schooling
and are a main factor in class placement (for both remedial and advanced work).
test in comfortable classrooms.
• The state test is also used in teacher evaluations. This is another equity issue as many schools
• What can be done to maintain classroom temperatures at an optimal range?
Noise Levels
• There are a variety of rooms that have horrific noise issues.
• All of the rooms facing south in one wing have operational and loud warehouse furnaces, as
• In the winter, teachers and students have to decide between heat and hearing the teacher.
• Teachers have requested a microphone system and been denied. ALL elementary classrooms as
• This is a learning discrepancy for students in the D/HH program as well as all students.
• What can be done to alleviate the noise from warehouse furnaces?
• Can the district provide microphone systems for teachers?
Parking Lot & Traffic Safety
• The parking lot situation has improved significantly with the removal of the portables and the
• However, students are still walking outside from the bike cage to the building in the mornings
• There isn’t a clear place for parents to drop-off/pick-up. Can such areas be more clearly
• Can walkways, parking spaces, etc. be clearly painted on the cement to provide additional safety
they are former “shop” classrooms.
well as ALL new buildings have them.
addition of traffic safety measures on 75th.
and after school (lots of darting).
and order?
• The building has a brand new computer roll-out, so while Eckstein is doing well in that regard, we
still blow fuses regularly when we plug IN those computer carts.
• The outdated electrical system is an issue.
• What can be done to improve the electrical system?
Plumbing & Sewer
• Extremely hard rain flooded the school the night before school started.
• Teachers were told that the sewer line and the storm drains are connected, creating a serious health
• Some teachers had water shooting out of drains in their floors. If that is contaminated water, this
poses serious health risks to everyone in the building.
• What can be done to address this?
Capacity & Growth
• Projections indicate that Eckstein capacity should be back to 1200+ in three years.
• What is the long-range plan then? Will old portables come back?
• Is there a way to address a remodel now while the enrollment is lower?
• Where is it and what is being done to keep kids away from it?
• We have heard many of the floor tiles have asbestos in them. If so, is there a proper coating so that
chairs aren’t scraping up the dust?

No comments: