Potential redevelopment of Seattle Country Day School sparks concerns

The problem is that parents picking up and dropping off students at the kindergarten-eighth grade school chokes the whole north slope of Queen Anne with traffic, according to Queen Anne Community Council board member Jeff Parker.
Parker attended a recent transportation-planning meeting the school held for the community.
"You could really sense the pain of these people, the frustration," Parker said.
Massi said the school currently has an enrollment of around 300 students. But he stressed that the traffic and parking problems will not become worse because the number of students will stay roughly the same.
"We are remaining a K-8 school," he said, adding that there are no plans to expand enrollment to include pre-school or high-school classes.
Still, Massi agrees that parking and traffic are a hassle at the school, so Heffron Transportation has been hired to conduct a study of the situation, he said.
School officials have already come up with potential solutions with the help of comments from neighborhood residents, according to Massi. "We know we need to reconfigure parking spaces," he said of one example. "One way to get traffic off the street is to change our drop-off loop, by making it longer," Massi said of another proposal.
Traffic considerations aside, the broader goal of the redevelopment plans is to ensure that teachers have their own dedicated classrooms, he said. "We, for instance, don't have a music classroom for the lower grades."
The Seattle Country Day School bought a few small neighborhood houses across Fourth Avenue North from the school several years ago. Those purchases also raised red flags in the neighborhood, noted Queen Anne Community Council chairwoman Ellen Monrad.
"We had some board members who wanted to ship it out," she said of the school, "maybe to Tacoma."
That didn't happen then, and it's not going to happen, according to Massi.
"We are remaining committed to the Queen Anne site," he said.
Massi said he wasn't sure whether the neighborhood homes the school now owns would be torn down or remodeled as part of the development plans.
"We're waiting to see what comes out of pre-design workshops with our neighbors, parents and faculty," he said.
Massi estimates that it will take a year or two before the school reaches the formal planning stages for the proposed redevelopment, "if, in fact, we do anything."

Staff reporter Russ Zabel can be reached at qanews@nwlink.com.

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