School officials say Lowell Elementary not an option for Whatcom students

The Bellingham School Board indicated Thursday, Dec. 10, that using Lowell Elementary School to house displaced Whatcom Middle School students and staff is not an option.

Lowell Elementary School was closed for the 2008-09 school year and students were dispersed to other schools while the building received a seismic upgrade. The school remained closed for the 2009-10 school year as a way for the district to save money.

But the school board promised Lowell families that the school would be reopened as an elementary school. In October, the board adopted a plan that outlines how to reopen the school for fall 2010. At the Thursday meeting, the board reaffirmed its desire to move forward with the plan.

School board vice president Ann Whitmyer said during the meeting that Lowell wouldn't work to house Whatcom Middle School for multiple reasons, including its size, available gym space and limited parking and bus access.

She said the school works well as a "neighborhood school" because most students walk to it. Whatcom students live too far away to walk, meaning all of them would be bused or driven by their parents.

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