21 Century Facilities Master Plan
The Mercer Island School District Board of Directors studies the bond survey results and examines options for the North Mercer campus
The Board of Directors spent a large part of their June 26, 2012 retreat to study the results from the May 2012 telephone survey conducted by EMC Research, a market and opinion research company. The goal is to better understand the community perceptions of the failed bond and to thoughtfully consider next steps. Presented by Ian Stewart of EMC Research, the key findings from the community poll include:
- There is strong public support for the school district and teachers. The Mercer Island community believes that the district is doing a good job of educating students.
- The failed bond measure was too expensive, too big and the community believes the current school facilities are working effectively.
- There is strong community support for investing in schools if the right package is presented to voters.
- There is strong support for building a new school (school #6) without the need to tear down and rebuild our current elementary schools.
- A successful measure will need several key ingredients: (1) Focuses on immediate overcrowding issue, (2) Smaller bond amount than previous version, (3) Siting a new school on the north end of the Island, (4) Straight forward investment plan, easy to communicate.
The Board then listened to a presentation by Mahlum Architects on a number of short and long-range options for the development of the North Mercer campus (area west of the high school). Since the survey shows strong support for a new school to be built on this campus, the Board preliminarily considered this as one of the short-term options to solve overcrowding in our schools. They are also considering and investigating the acquisition of additional property for a new school.
Once the Board has identified a preliminary set of best options, they will work with a public policy firm to plan a series of town hall meetings, both small and large, to engage the community in the conversation about the future of Mercer Island schools. Superintendent Gary Plano said, “I am excited about the next steps in our planning process and very grateful for the hard work and dedication of our school board. We learned a lot from this retreat and look forward to more thoughtful conversations with our community this fall.”
To view the options presented by the Mahlum team on June 26, 2012, click here.