Jing Mei Playfield Update
I am aware that there are concerns about our playfield. I have been in communication with the Facilities Department and below is a summary that helps us understand the process and future plans. Mr. McLeod will come to Jing Mei next Wednesday ,11/14, from 9:00-10:00 to address parents directly and answer your questions. We will meet in the Library. If you cannot make it the below information will be presented.
Thank you for your engagement and advocacy. I really appreciate the time you have spent to research and share your thoughts with us.
Update from Mr. Jack McLeod – Director, Facilities and Operations | Bellevue School District
- September 2013, Jing Mei was changed from a program located at Ardmore Elementary to a school with its own principal and was moved to Bellewood facility.
- Capital Levy passed by voters in February 2014
- Part of February 2014 capital levy – “Replacement and improvement of sports filed and structures” was one area of investment for this levy.
- Late spring of 2014, began talking with Jing Mei families regarding the potential location for their school after the passing of the new Bond election in February 2014 because Bellewood was potentially needed as a swing school again. Options under consideration included:
- Remaining at Bellewood
- Open space at another elementary school facility
- Lease a facility
- Move to a middle school with capacity (Highland MS)
- Move to “Old” Newport Heights Elementary with significant building updates.
- Decision to move to “Old” Newport Heights Elementary was made in June 2014. Tennant improvements at the site included:
- Architect/Engineer selection July 2014
- Project bids opened January 2015
- Project completed, school opened August 2015.
- BSD website (spring 2017) from Public Information Office identified elementary school playfields to be rebuilt with synthetic turf – included Jing Mei, however, this information regarding Jing Mei field was never provided by Facilities Department. There was never any budget established for Jing Mei playfield as it was not in the plan for refurbishment based on above timelines.
- When considering the move of Jing Mei Elementary to the Newport Heights location, several people including parents raised the idea of rebuilding Jing Mei like other elementary schools in the District. With the newness of the program and then school at the time of the bond election in February 2014, Jing Mei was not considered as a potential rebuild. In addition, with Enatai, Clyde Hill, Stevenson & Puesta del Sol still waiting for their new schools, Jing Mei was not being considered at this time.
- The District is considering another bond election for February 2020. Under consideration is the rebuild of Jing Mei along with other potential projects. If Jing Mei were to be rebuilt on its current site, in all likelihood, the site layout would be different resulting in any investment in a new field being lost. Current cost of new fields is $1 – $1.2 million.
- When looking at upgrading all fields – natural grass was considered as an option, however, it is not a viable option in the Pacific Northwest for the following reasons –
- Natural grass is not durable in the rainy Pacific Northwest resulting in the field not being available to students for maintenance or it turns into a mud field because of the constant use.
- Significant maintenance costs including mowing, fertilizing, watering in the summer months, reseeding, etc.
- Need for the use of pesticides and other products to maintain such a large area.
- Amended Sand fields are not the best option but are more viable than grass or sodded fields. They are the lowest cost option and the density and weight of the amended sand resist the sand being blown off the field and creates firmer footing. Currently Ardmore, Spiritridge, Cherry Crest and Puesta Del Sol have amended sand fields.