|"New Walk Area Boundary" is in blue. (Click to enlarge)|
By Susan Wilkins
When Redmond High School opened this September with 2000 students and staff, only 8 busses were provided for the entire school – enough seats for about 400 students to ride to and from school.
In September, 500 additional ninth graders arrived at Redmond High as part of the 9-12 grade conversion. The brand new 14-classroom south wing and auxiliary gym were also opened for the first time. Redmond High School is now one of the largest high schools in Washington State with almost 2000 students and 160 teachers and staff. Before final construction plans were approved by the Redmond City Council, the project went through a series of reviews and hearings where such issues as severe traffic back-ups, noise, overcrowding in the halls and lunchroom, and even inadequate locker counts were considered.
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The Hearing Examiner was asked to add as a condition of approval that the school district be required to provide additional bus bus service for students who were eligible under the “1-mile walk route” designation. The city Hearing Examiner noted that RCW 28A.160.160 didn’t take effect until September 1, 2011, (and it was still May 2011) so she couldn’t even consider making it a condition of approval. The Redmond City Council considered the RHS Building Permit on July 26, 2011 and were asked to deny the building permit until after September 1, 2011 so that they could consider asking the school district to offer bus transportation to students outside the 1-mile walk route who had previously been ineligible for busing. The additional bussing could have been used to mitigate the terrible traffic jams that were already occurring at the high school. Only Councilman Richard Cole voted against the Redmond High School Expansion Project noting that traffic was so bad that he avoided the area around the high school. The rest of the City Council voted for the project and it was approved.
By Susan Wilkins
Parent and PTSA volunteeer for LWSD
This presentation was delivered to Sup. Traci Pierce and Forest Miller, Dir. of Facilities and Transportation, the School Board and Mayor. BY