What's Up with That? Image school not moving, but child care might

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

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I am writing regarding three vacant lots just north of Image Elementary School, on west side of Northeast 122nd Avenue, that formerly had homes on them. Last year the homes were removed and now it is just a fenced field. I looked up the owner on Clark County’s Geographic Information System website and found that SEH America owns the lots. What is their plan for this land? I heard a rumor that Image school might be moved over to a vacant field on 49th Street.

I certainly do not want to have more industrial buildings encroaching on our neighborhood! The field around the school provides a great paved walking path, well used by all of the neighborhood, young and old alike.

Perhaps you can shed some light on this?

— C. Louviere, North Image neighborhood

First let’s dispose of that nasty rumor, C.L.

“The rumor of Image moving is not true,” said spokeswoman Carol Fenstermacher of Evergreen Public Schools.

But the campus of SEH America, which manufactures silicon ingots and wafers for high-tech uses, almost completely surrounds the much smaller and zigzag-shaped Image Elementary School campus. That creates some dilemmas regarding property lines and elevations, Fenstermacher said.

There’s an upper schoolyard with a covered playground, she said, but there’s also a lower area that cannot be seen well from above. The district doesn’t like that. “For us it’s a matter of supervision,” she said.

Meanwhile, a child care center operated by Educational Service District 112 and about half the school’s parking lot occupy SEH land, she said, which the corporation lets the school use for free.

All of which has prompted some friendly discussion, Fenstermacher said: Is there a way to reconfigure the properties and uses, so the playground isn’t out of view and the school is using its own land?

The local neighborhood association has been kept abreast of those talks, she said, and that may be the source of some misunderstanding. But nothing has been decided, and the Image school itself certainly won’t be picking up and moving, said Fenstermacher.

What may move — just a few feet — is the child care center. “SEH and Evergreen Public Schools and ESD 112 have been trying to find a better location for the child care center,” said Pat McDonnell of SEH. “The three vacant lots north of the school are presently being considered for a future location of the child care center. We have had a partnership … for years on the child care center and want to make sure we work together in the future.”

Good digging, anyway, C.L., on the three parcels that turn out to be SEH property. That county G.I.S. website is a great tool that anybody interested in local properties and uses should try: http://gis.clark.wa.gov/gishome.

Got a question about your neighborhood? We’ll get it answered. Send “What’s Up With That?” questions to neighbors@columbian.com.