Will a New Elementary School be Built in the Highlands?

Well, it’s complicated.

The Issaquah City Council met on Monday, April 9th in Council Chambers to talk about “Property Acquisition and Disposition Process” including the property recently purchased by the City just west of Issaquah Highlands’ Swedish Hospital and Westridge South neighborhood.

The Issaquah School District (ISD) has stated its interest in purchasing the land referred to as parcel 1C for the construction of an elementary school.

During this meeting, councilmembers expressed concern and requested more information about the following topics as they related to the potential school siting in the Highlands:

  • Traffic volumes and traffic safety
  • Tree retention
  • Viewshed (how the property looks from I-90 and the valley floor)
  • Hydrology and slope stability
  • Value of the land for other uses

“I hope to get to ‘yes’ because I know this is important to the District … but you know, I have concerns,” Council President Tola Marts said.

These topics will be discussed further at a second “work session.” A tentative timetable for addressing the question of whether or not to sell the property at this time was determined as such:

  • May 14th Second Work Session
  • June 4th Opening of Public Hearing and possibly referring the matter to Council committees
  • June 7th Land and Shore Committee deliberations, if referred to committees
  • June 12th Services and Safety Committee deliberations, if referred to committees
  • July 2nd Continuation of the Public Hearing and possible Council decision

New information that alleviates concerns could speed up the schedule when discussed at the May 14th work session.

This was not the first time ISD expressed its interest in the property to the City Council . Its interest was stated when the City rezoned the property in preparation for purchase (from King County in 2017)  and again when City Council and ISD met on April 2nd.

For the full video of the meeting, go to http://www.issaquahwa.gov/ and then to ICTV.

The School District’s target opening date for the proposed Issaquah Highlands school is September 2020. For more information from the District about this proposal, please see https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/district/departments/CapProjects/land-acquisition/issaquah-highlands and more generally on new school development issaquah.wednet.edu/district/departments/capprojects  (See project E16 for the potential new highlands elementary school).