Planning and Construction Updates
A Notice to Proceed was issued to the general contractor, FORMA Construction Company, on December 19, 2017. Construction activities began after Christmas and are on-going.
Construction activities to date include:
- Clearing and grubbing of trees and bushes along the eastern slope above Ella Bailey Park.
- Erection of perimeter site fencing and establishment of the main construction site entrance off W. McGraw.
- Selective demolition
- Hazardous material abatement
- Installation of underground utilities
- Masonry cleaning and restoration
- Layout of pipe and ducts running throughout the building.
Current activities include construction of site retaining walls and new building foundations.
The Superintendent made the recommendation and the School Board concurred to reject the bids received in May and re-bid the project in late October to better position the project for attracting more bidders and receiving more favorable bid prices. In conjunction with rebidding the project, the School District has also decided on a slate of cost cutting measures as a way to assist in bringing the project within budget. Mahlum Architects is currently working to incorporate these changes in the bidding documents in preparation for rebidding.
The revised bid documents are expected to be advertised for bids in late September with bid opening scheduled for late October. The school will open fall 2019.
The following letter was sent by the Growth Boundaries Project to families announcing the delay:
Dear Magnolia and Queen Anne area families:
We hope your summer is off to a nice start, we are writing with some updates to boundaries and proposed changes to Fort Lawton. In preparation for the reopening of Magnolia Elementary, SPS began the boundary review process earlier this spring. The boundary review process initially suggested some required movement of students across schools in order to balance enrollment in this area of the city. This potential change created a great deal of community interest and many alternative boundary solutions. Reconstruction of Magnolia Elementary and drawing of the related school boundaries will be delayed. Recent construction bids for Magnolia Elementary came in significantly greater than anticipated. To secure more favorable bid results, the Capital Projects Office recommended, and the Superintendent approved, rebidding the project in the fall of 2017 and likely delaying the school opening until the fall of 2019. With the delay of the Magnolia Elementary project, we will also delay finalizing the boundaries. The delay will provide time for district staff and the City of Seattle to analyze the possibility of adding a school at Fort Lawton.
For the past ten years, the City of Seattle has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers on repurposing the Fort Lawton site. The City has proposed using the site for affordable housing, a park, or other city purposes. Many families have expressed interest in adding a school at that site as well. Seattle Public Schools is exploring this idea with city planners. The US Department of Education manages any federal property that might be used for educational purposes. This means, that while the city may be supportive, we still need to meet multiple requirements including:
Construction must be completed within 36 months of receiving the land [12 months if not doing major renovations or construction] There must be a current, demonstrated need for the land or building Specificity on educational use [what kind of school] must already be determined And an aligned budget must accompany the request to the US Department of Education Once we have clarity on whether we could meet the eligibility criteria, we will contact the city for further conversation about the timeline and what might be possible.
Thank you to the many Magnolia and Queen Anne families who provided feedback during the initial boundary discussions. We look forward to reengaging as a revised timeline is developed and as we learn more about the potential of a school site at Fort Lawton.
SPS opened bids on May 16, 2017. There were two bids submitted. Each was significantly higher than the construction budget. Next step options are under discussion, and department leadership will be making a formal recommendation to the Seattle School Board for final direction. District maintenance personnel have been doing selective demolition work. The building permit review process is on-going. The Certificate of Approval from the Landmarks Preservation Board and the Master Use Permit from Land Use have been received.