More than a third of the 100 buildings in the Seattle School District's current inventory are more than 50 years old. Seattle voters approved Building Excellence I in 1995 and Building Excellence II in 2001. Together, these levies replaced or renovated 35 schools.
Seattle voters approved the current construction program, the Building Excellence III project (BEX III) Capital Bond, in 2007. The six-year, $490 million BEX III bond will replace or renovate an additional seven schools and continues the Seattle Public School's long range plan for renewing aging school buildings throughout the city, replacing or modernizing district buildings, infrastructure and technology.
Many buildings that have not yet been renovated are in poor condition. Under BEX III, seven schools will be renovated or replaced in addition to completing district-wide improvements to drinking water and indoor air quality.
BEX III includes improvements to enhance environmental health and safety. This includes waterline replacements to meet stringent drinking water quality, improvements to indoor air quality and replacement, fire & life safety systems and seismic (earthquake) upgrades.
The BEX III capital bond includes a total of 20 technology projects, an investment to support teaching, learning and effective business practices. These improvements range from replacing outdated classroom computers and teacher workstations to the expansion of a website that keeps families informed of student progress and improvements to business and academic systems.
Major BEX III school projects require approximately one to two years to plan and design using the district's school design team (SDT) process. The process is a collaborative effort with all the school and community stakeholders. This effort involves school teams of administrators, students, faculty/staff/paraprofessionals, parents, community representatives, consultants, and architects working together to design schools that support academic achievement. The teams use the seven characteristics of high achieving schools as building blocks to inform and evaluate their designs. The qualities are: learner centered environment, personalizing environment, and spaces that support safety, program adaptability, collaboration, community connections and aesthetics.