A group of parents, friends and neighbors from the Loyal Heights Elementary community have banded together to try and save the fate of the playground on the school grounds.
Loyal Heights Elementary is set to undergo a major expansion starting in 2016 to accommodate the increasing demand of the local growing population. The school is set to expand its current capacity of 450 students to approximately 650-800 students and must rearrange physical attributes of the school in order to do so.
The $37.3 million expansion project is currently underway under the direction of Seattle Public Schools who believe that the project “will address current and projected elementary enrollment growth in northwest Seattle.”
Despite acknowledging the benefits that the expansion will provide the local parents and neighbors have some concerns. “While many of the proposed changes will be of great benefit to our expanding student body, we are concerned that the building plans include a severe reduction in outdoor play space,” writes the local group on their website.
According to the local group, the current proposal is set to cut the outdoor playground space in half, leaving 3000 square meters for outdoor activities. “To put that in perspective, a soccer field is approx. 6000 square meters,” writes the group.
The expansion project is set to include a new building that will house one new classroom per grade and recess will be staggered by grade. If all goes ahead as planned the group states that “108-133 students (the equivalent of 10-12 soccer teams) will be playing on a space about half the size of a soccer field.”
The group has created the below table to compare the amount of outdoor play space that the new expansion will offer each student versus other schools in our area:
In addition to the impact on Loyal Heights students, the local group is concerned about the impact that the lack of outdoor space will have on the local community.
“This play field is heavily utilized by the community, both after school and on the weekends. It is the only playground west of 24th and north of 65th outside of Golden Gardens. By limiting this play field, Seattle Public Schools will be taking away a valuable public resource,” writes the group.
The group is encouraging locals to write to Seattle Public Schools board members and officials and voice their concerns.
Click here to learn more about the expansion and the local group who are fighting to save the outdoor playground space.