Officials with both the Edmonds School District and the Olympic View Water & Sewer District met Monday to discuss their disagreement over the Madrona K-8 construction project. The two groups are also set to meet again Thursday, June 14.
The school district announced last week that the new $49.25 million Madrona K-8 building is not expected to open due to a disagreement between the water and school districts over how to handle stormwater on the site. The plan has 16 underground injection control (UIC) wells for stormwater detention, which work by allowing water to filter through what is known as a dry sand layer of earth before reaching an aquifer that feeds into Deer Creek. Stormwater will be allowed to flow freely through the sand and will not be injected or pressurized into the aquifer, according to district spokeswoman Kelly Franson. The water district says it wants more testing on the stormwater and how it affects Deer Creek.
The school cannot receive a certificate of occupancy from the City of Edmonds until the disagreement is resolved, which means students will likely need to relocate to Alderwood Middle School for at least the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
Edmonds School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy said during Tuesday’s regular school board meeting that Monday’s meeting was “productive.”
“We are doing everything we can to look into this matter and try to get it resolved as soon as possible,” she said. “It is of utmost importance to all of us.”
Madrona parents addressed the school board about the issue.
“Temporary relocation is causing great stress in my house,” said Lea Bonebrake, of Edmonds. “My wife and I are both working parents and have very demanding schedules.” He added that the 15-minute drive from their house to Alderwood Middle School adds up to about an extra hour of driving each day, which will be tough to manage.
“I don’t think I’m the only family that has those concerns,” he added.
Maura Do said she feels families have been used as “pawns” in this disagreement.
“It was negligent,” she said. “I’m not interested in repercussions or finger pointing. What I really want to see is interested parties working together.”
During the Edmonds City Council’s Parks and Public Works Committee meeting Tuesday night, councilmembers asked Public Works Director Phil Williams for an update on the Madrona School situation, as he participated in Monday’s two-hour meeting.
“The tone was good,” Williams said. “I think they got closer together during the two-hour period and realized their differences weren’t quite as great as what they originally thought.”
According to Williams, the deadline is next Thursday, and if an agreement isn’t reached by then, furniture and supplies will be moved to Alderwood Middle School for Madrona students to begin the 2018-2019 school year.
Regarding Deer Creek, Williams said, “It’s a very high quality water source and it’s very important to the district. The water just comes out of the ground. It’s clean. It requires almost no treatment.” Olympic View Water has said the creek supplies 40 percent of its water.
Williams said his opinion is that “both sides will have to compromise” to come up with an agreement, which will probably involve longer and more extensive water quality monitoring than was originally expected.
He cautioned that the issue “hasn’t been resolved yet. The meeting was only two hours and they’ve been at this a year and a half.”
–With reporting by Natalie Covate and Teresa Wippel