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Des Moines Elementary
If another bond is put out to the voters for reconstruction of more schools, it has been suggested that Des Moines Elementary be relocated to the Zenith Park site. As far as I understand, this is the only school in the series of reconstruction that involves relocation of the school site. This issue is a "game-changer" for me and my support of the bond, overall good feelings about being a former student and parent of Des Moines Elem. students, resident of Des Moines and satisfaction with Highline Public Schools. I will not be voting in support of the bond if it includes relocating to the Zenith site.
Des Moines Elementary is located in the heart of Des Moines. The building has that "old-school" charm and the site is historical in being used as a school since 1897. It's central location symbolizes that one of the priorities of our community is education.
It's ideal location has also given students the unique opportunity to go on walking field trips to the public library, serve the elderly at Wesley Homes, serve at the Des Moines Food Bank, and walk to the beach for lessons on marine life. These experiences would not be permissable if the school were relocated.
The current location of Des Moines Elementary is near several "safe" places for students before and after school. It is located next door to the Des Moines Field House/Parks and Recreation and is convenient for those involved in Before/After School Programs. Many students/families make use of the public library (1 block) and adjacent city parks after school. On the contrary, Zenith is on the very south end of our service area, detached from the city, and on a busy intersection of 16th Ave and 240th St where many Highline College students are racing by or commuters are seeking a detour from Pacifice Highway/I-5.
It has been suggested that it is cost-prohibitive to restore the school and the current location isn't large enough to rebuild. This service area is not a growing area. We don’t need a school large enough to enroll 600 students. We don’t need two playing fields either. We are next door to the Parks and Recreation fields and have been permitted to share the space as needed. Because of its historical nature, I would love to see the main building kept as original as possible and as many of the trees preserved as well. There is some space between the main building and adjacent wings on the site that isn’t used efficiently and could be consolidated. Perhaps an underground staff parking lot could be considered to free up space for drop off/pick up. I think the expense of this project is worth it. It is an investment and valuable contribution not only to Highline Public Schools but to the City of Des Moines.
I hope that under Susan Enfield’s direction, the School Board and community will re-visit the plans for Des Moines Elem. In previous meetings, a dollar figure was shared about the estimated expense of rebuilding vs. relocating. Those figures and the invitation to discuss weren’t of much value to me because I felt like the school board had already made up their mind and they weren’t open to the community’s concerns. Was a potential design and bid created? Can that design be reconsidered for 400/450 students, 1 playing field, etc. We don’t need to be equivalent to the other schools in the district. Let us be a little different.
I hope that this invitaion to share our ideas will be taken seriously and this isn't just for show.
Schools are one of the key ingredients to holding a community together. They draw home buyers and businesses to locate in particular neighborhoods. Sure, our students and good scores will go with us wherever Des Moines Elem. is located but the Zenith site won't help hold our community together like the current site does.
If Des Moines Elementary is re-located to Zenith, I think they should rename the school, Zenith Elementary and select a new mascot as well. Start over. Des Moines Elementary is not an appropriate name to be used at that location. It is detached from the heart of the city. The name and mascot deserve to be retired and reserved for its original location. The good feelings and associations can’t be relocated.
S.O.S. - Save Our School!