In the summer of 2009, the New School will leave the Columbia School for its new facility in Rainier Beach and for the first time in more than 100 years, a public school may not be operating in the heart of Columbia City. Over the coming year, the Seattle School District will likely decide what to do with the soon to be vacant Columbia School building.
Update (April 21, 2009)
The Seattle Courant reported last week that the Seattle School District staff proposed to the School Board categorizing the Columbia School as "inventory" and would not be needed for more than three years (see School Board Trying to Decide What to do with Shuttered Schools.) According to the article, staff suggested that inventoried buildings could be leased.
FoCS is still trying to determine the School District's process and timeline for classifying the Columbia School as "inventory" and for leasing the building for possibly the next three years.
In early December, while the Seattle Public Schools was considering the school closures, FoCS sent Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson a letter asking for an update on the School District's plans for the Columbia School. After several follow-up attempts, including contacting the Seattle School Board, we received the following response from a staff person:
"We are preparing a plan as to how to handle all of the schools that are soon to become vacant. No decisions have been made at this point. The Board will be asked to approve any such plans."
The Seattle Courant is apparently reporting on this plan. We'll provide more information as we learn more.
Friends of Columbia School (FoCS) was founded to help inform, engage, and involve the community regarding the future use and development of Columbia School. You can review the draft mission statement and make comments in the discussion area.
How to Get Involved
There are several ways you could get involved:
- Mission Statement: Help FoCS develop a mission statement to help focus (no pun intended) its efforts. A draft can be found on the neighborhood Wiki: www.columbiacity.wikidot.com. If you have comments, please post them to the discussion area, send them to Joanne Lauterjung at moc.ogidni-esum|ennaoj#moc.ogidni-esum|ennaoj, or discuss them at the next community meeting (see below).
- Outreach: In an effort to reach out to all parts of the community, a group of people will begin making special efforts to engage minority and low-income representatives. If you are interested in participating in these conversations, please contact Michael Woo at ten.tsacmoc|yobeiloob#ten.tsacmoc|yobeiloob.
- Community Discussion: FoCS will host a series of discussions this winter about the City’s decision making process and redeveloping vacant schools. If you’re interested in helping to coordinate these discussions, please contact Scott Barkan at moc.nsm|nakrab_ttocs#moc.nsm|nakrab_ttocs.
If you're looking for more information, interested in helping out, or would like to donate your time, please contact Rebecca Cate at ten.tsacmoc|etackr#ten.tsacmoc|etackr or 760-8078.
- November 15, 2008: flyer.
- Letter from Department of Neighborhood's declining Small & Simple Application: letter.