Family Village causes no concerns among Issaquah school officials

September 20, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

Occupants were expected to move in en masse in late June and managers expected most residents to occupy the new $53 million YWCA Family Village at Issaquah in the Issaquah Highlands by late August.

Designed to be affordable housing, Family Village is expected to attract its fair share of, well, families, including school-age children. Still, Issaquah School District officials say they are ready for what they expect to be a modest influx of new students.

Family Village consists of 146 units of affordable housing, said Cathy MacCaul, director of community affairs for the local YWCA.

“It is basically a campus-type development,” MacCaul added, saying Family Village features plenty of shared spaces and other atypical amenities, such as a planned Bright Horizons day care facility.

Family Village is meant to offer rental units for firefighters, medical assistants, police officers, retail clerks and teachers — people employed in Issaquah but unable to afford other housing in the community. Occupants must meet certain income requirements in order to qualify for a Family Village unit on a site across from the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride.

In general, multifamily units — namely apartment complexes — do not drive up the number of local children, said Sara Niegowski, school district director of communications.

In calculating potential or future enrollment, Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations, reported he figures one elementary school-aged child for every 13 to 14 units in a typical multifamily development.

However, because Family Village is expected to attract more than the usual number of families, Kuper calculated one elementary-grade child for every 10 units. Over the next 4 years, district projections still show only about 40 elementary school students living in Family Village. Niegowski described that number as “not too significant.”

Generally speaking, Niegowski said, the Issaquah Highlands have been a source of steady growth in the district, and boundary committees and growth projections already treat it as such. Grand Ridge Elementary is the school most likely to feel any impact from Family Village and the highlands overall.

Last year, according to figures released by the district, the actual head count at the school was 710. Kuper forecasted that to increase to about 770 this school year. As of the most recent count available, Grand Ridge students number 756. No numbers have made available since school began. MacCaul said YWCA officials have been in steady contact with Grand Ridge and district officials.

“They were very positive about the programs that are going to be offered in the community,” MacCaul said.

The YWCA is planning for 50 spots in its day care and may even offer such services as homework help or tutoring along with parenting classes.

“There’s a big demand for it,” MacCaul said of the day care.

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