Sunday, November 04, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For.

[Anonymous Comment]
How many years have any of you bloggers spent working inside Lynnwood High School? I have over 20 years being in that building. It was old and dysfunctional when I got there! If you want to complain, complain about how it was originally constructed along with tens of other ESD buildings. The fact we NEED a new building completely escapes you in your efforts to "blame" anybody and everybody that thinks differently than you. After all, your right to free speech is defended by others! Not that you would believe in fighting or defending your country. By the way, what country are you from?

[Claire Olsovsky]
As the District Safety and Loss Control Specialist from July 2000 to January 2005, I inspected every building in the District and watched five schools come on line. The current condition of Lynnwood High School pales in comparison to how run down Esperance and Scriber Lake High (at the old Lynnwood Jr. High) were prior to their demolition yet were both occupied to the last possible moment.

I find it interesting the above blogger thought LHS was old at 16 years, for schools are designed to last 50 years. There is an argument afoot that the new school should be built despite declining enrollment because of rising costs of construction. By the time enrollment does ramp up, the school will be considered outdated and as this blogger states "old and dysfunctional."

The comment on poor construction rings very true to me; but at the heart of it is poor design. The roof at Mountlake Terrace High School has leaked in the auditorium since it was built. The roof drainage at the Maplewood Center caused, and still may for all I know, window leaks. The ventilation system at Meadowdale Elementary needed to be extended within its first year because the architect eliminated part of the mechanical engineer’s original design.

Then there’s the indirect lighting at Terrace Park that tries to use a dark ceiling to reflect light, the rusting metal shelves after 2 years in the science storage area at Edmonds Woodway High School, and the main at Cedar Valley that is being replaced bit by bit by Maintenance as it fails. I could go on and on and talk about expensive European light fixtures at EWH, a fire place that should have never been constructed at Terrace Park K-8, and panes of glass Maintenance cannot replace in house because they are too big, but it’s depressing.

Support staff drafted a document known as the Universal Design Standards to aid the Capital Projects office in constructing new buildings. But as I recall in a meeting, CPO staff at the time dismissed our complaints because we only had "anecdotal data" that the buildings did not meet the standards or the needs of the teachers.

Interestingly enough, prior to the passage of the bond to fund LHS, three parents from Madrona decided to educate themselves about new construction. They came to the conclusion that the bond was not worth passing because of too many non-adressed issues in new construction. Given all of this, why would anyone be in a hurry to build a school or the New Administration building?

For those of you slated to go to the new LHS, don’t worry, that train has already left the station. There will be a new school. But when you finally move in, let me know if you get what you wished for…

Fun Factoid: Claire is a US citizen born on an American military base overseas. She learned about her constitutional rights from her father as he defended them for nearly 30 years in the US Army Air Corps and Air Force.


Anonymous said...

What planet are you from? Take a moment, remove your nose from your supervisors butt, think for yourself if you can, and try considering that your district is being run by incompetent boobs.

By the way, it looks as though you enjoy your right to free speech as well. I'm sure you've done nothing to earn that right either. I was wondering, what color is the sky in your world?

Anonymous said...

the superintendent is a putz and the board is impotent.

Anonymous said...


I admire your knowledge and I applaud your willingness to share and believe me we need to know how screwed up the district is. On the other hand I do believe and support what Nick has done to get a new school for Lynnwood High School. They have been treated like the misfits or bad news bears, only receiving hand me downs and second hand juke that no one wanted. They have never been treated with respect. This school has been laughed at and made fun of by the district, before Nick got here. So I support them having a new school. They should not be blamed for the screw up from the person in the budget department. He thinks he walks on water and can make no mistakes. He should be blamed for the bad forcasting. He is very arrogant and can post signs outside of his cubicle that are very unprofessional. The last one read "DATA ENTERING DO NOT DISTRUB" and my favorite from the past "IF YOU SEE MY BACK DO NOT DISTRUB ME". So the bottom line here is Lynnwood needs a new school. They have been fighting water in the gym for years and seems that someone told me that the school was sinking. You are right that schools should last 50 years or more, but when the folks in charge care more about feeding their egos, then what you see is what you get.

The problems with all these other school should be blamed on the CPO project engineer. Another arrogant one.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is saying the high school shouldn't be built, just that we shouldn't be spoon-fed a bunch of lies to vote for it.

As for the budget analyst... I have met him. He is a tumor on the body of any district and has been floating between them for years.

Anonymous said...

I too believe their is a need for new LWH but I also believe that the district doesn't put enough money up front to keep buildings in good running shape. They let stuff slide until it is too late. The district needs to spend money to keep these schools in better shape for the future of our students otherwise in 20 more years we will be doing this all over again. And don't build on swamp land it brings on more problems.

Anonymous said...

It is an unfortunate generalization, but most school districts do not have the funds to properly upkeep their buildings. When the voters turn down an M&O levy, the next time around the "M" is the part that gets cut the most. Once money is cut from a budget in any area, it is very hard to restore it in the future; thus a 10% cut in Year One has the effect of being a 30% cut by Year Five.

Local levies covering school, fire , port and, irrigation districts, among others, are the ones that are very locally controlled by the local voter. When the economy is perceived to be going south or the voters perceive that they are paying too much in total taxes, it is not unusual for local levies to fail. In schools, this generates the cascading effect of increasing class size (reducing the learning that will go on in the classroom), cutting the materials available for education to occur (from textbooks to blank paper), putting off needed preventative maintenance (you now may spend $10 on a gallon of roof patch rather than the $5K [or whatever] required to re-seal the roof or the $250K for a new one), and ending the maintenance of the landscaping (except, of course, the grass football fields [or install artificial turf which is a larger expenditure upfront than watering but recoups, hopefully, in the long run with reduced maintenance costs]).

In this model, the voter/taxpayer is very powerful and expects their money to be managed well. As a Washington State taxpayer, I expect that not everything will go right all the time; there will be the occasional boondoggle. I do not, however, expect screw-up after screw-up.

Nor do I expect employees (whose salary we are paying) to be mistreated or harassed. I recall there is something in the Judeo/Christian ethic (which I think is what most parents/teachers are using as a religiously or philosophically based guide) about treating people the way you want to be treated. I expect that ethic to be in effect outside of the Church walls, too.

If that's too much to expect from this crop of board/administrators, a house cleaning is in order.