Highlands School Siting Update

By Nina Milligan, Communications Manager, Highlands Council

On Monday, May 14, Issaquah School District (ISD) representatives verbally presented research results to the Issaquah City Council from studies they conducted on Highlands property the district has been pursuing for a new elementary school.

When we last reported on this topic on April 26, the school district was slowing down their process to present an offer to purchase the property, now owned by the City of Issaquah, in favor of further analysis. Preliminary studies on the property, located west of Swedish Hospital and Westridge South had caused concerns about slope stability and tree / forest retention.

On May 14, Steve Crawford, ISD Director of Capital Projects, updated the City Council with recent study results. Regarding slope stability, Crawford described drilling done on Friday (5/11/2018) which indicated that soft soils in their samples were 30 feet deep, below which is a solid, dense base. He said this information alleviated his concern about working with slope stability.

Regarding tree retention, Crawford reported that Laminated Root Rot (LRR) was found in trees located on the potential school site property as well as on neighboring parcels.

Keith Niven, City of Issaquah Development Services Director, responded by saying that the City will do their own analysis of the soil samples drilled by ISD, and that the City has already engaged an arborist to perform independent studies on the trees in June.

Additional concerns were discussed such as how to maintain the forested hillside and shield view of the school from the valley floor, and traffic.

The video recording of the May 14 City Council meeting can be viewed here>> .

Link directly to the Issaquah School Board podcast of their April 25 meeting, and statement, here>>.