---FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE---
ISSAQUAH, WA---A new community group has formed to express their concerns about a school development in the works. The group, Citizens Concerned About Responsible Education (C-CARE), raises a host of issues with the campus proposal at the Issaquah/Sammamish border.
The Issaquah School District (ISD) is planning to build a new high school and an elementary school on a shared campus at the south end of the City of Sammamish (228th AVE SE and SE 43rd WAY). The plot of land is on 36 buildable acres and is slated to house 2800 students and staff.
C-CARE alleges that the ISD has been unwilling to make meaningful concessions to mitigate countless impacts on the surrounding area. C-CARE lists a multitude of issues with traffic, fiscal responsibility, safety, and environmental impacts in the current proposal.
Traffic concerns raised by the group encompass the two new stoplights necessary, which they argue will exacerbate an already congested morning rush hour at 228th AVE SE and SE 43rd Way. Because of the location of the campus--a significant distance from neighborhoods and up a very steep hill--, it is safe to assume that close to 100% of the campus will commute. The ISD estimates 4100 car trips per day.
Fiscally, C-CARE is concerned with ISD’s budgetary priorities. In the design’s current incarnation, both schools will require the use of portable classrooms to accommodate future growth. Prioritizing the 2,000-seat stadium over adequate, permanent classroom space is irresponsible the group says. Instead, C-CARE suggests that building lower-cost practice facilities makes more financial sense and argues that Skyline’s $11 million field remodel should be shared between the two high schools. Future classroom additions would be subject to a bond measure, which requires an elusive 60% yes-vote threshold to pass.
Safety concerns the group cites are vast. For instance, only one point of ingress/egress may greatly impact emergency response times especially if there is an emergency at rush hour. Secondly, teen drivers sharing a campus with elementary students also raises reasonable concerns. They also point out that copious articles explain that portables are much less safe in an active shooter scenario.
Environmentally, C-CARE points out that the current plans include removing nearly all existing mature trees on site replacing them with nursery stock. C-CARE believes that this plan is in violation of the City of Issaquah’s comprehensive plan requirements for tree replacement. Additionally, they note that the plan requires 75% of the site to become impervious surface which will substantially increase storm-water runoff to Lake Sammamish via Laughing Jacobs Creek without adequate storm-water treatment. There is also no evaluation of the potential impact on the Kokanee salmon that utilize Jacobs creek for spawning, they state.
C-CARE urges the ISD and all concerned residents of the area to advocate for a much less condensed use of the plot-- only building ONE school with only permanent classroom space. Since the plot is distant from most elementary families, it makes the most sense to build an eco-friendly high school with adequate traffic, safety, and environmental mitigation informing their plans.
To learn more about C-CARE and their platform, please visit them on Facebook or email CCARE98027@gmail.com.