An advisory committee will take public comment and hear a presentation from Seattle Public Schools later this month before deciding whether a setback departure should be granted for a classroom addition at Coe Elementary in Queen Anne.

The three-story addition will not connect to the existing elementary school  at2424 Seventh Ave. W., and is being built to increase capacity. The addition will include six classrooms on the east side of the school along Sixth Avenue West.

The allowed setback without a departure is 20 feet, and architecture firm Mahlum is requesting an average setback of 16.25 feet and minimum of 13 feet. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections requires the advisory committee process in order to allow the departure.

Seattle Public Schools is building the Coe Elementary addition with a $7.9 million state grant for distressed schools, which includes the cost of consultants and permitting. There is a portable classroom on the property, and inside the main school two rooms meant for before- and after-school child care had to be assigned for kindergarteners, said SPS project manager Jeanette Imanishi, adding more classrooms were created using common areas.

“It’s really sad looking,” Imanishi said. “For the art classroom, they’ve taken this big common area and partitioned it and made an art classroom. They just need a good learning environment as meant to be.”

Volunteers were sought for a development standards departure advisory committee back in May, and were to include Coe Elementary neighbors and school district and city representatives.

The committee is set to hold a required public hearing and receive a presentation from SPS during a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Coe Elementary.

The Department of Neighborhoods is leading the advisory committee process, and up to three public meetings are allowed, if the committee needs more information and public input, but Imanishi doesn’t think that will be necessary.

Seattle Public Schools would like to begin construction in early 2020, but that schedule is partly contingent on the permitting process.

“There isn’t a contractor on board, and actually the schedule is under discussion right now,” she said, “but the departure is only a small part of a larger permitting process.”

The six new classrooms that the three-story addition will provide have not been assigned to any grades at this time, and there will also be more commons spaces included for group activities. The portable facility will be moved, likely to another school in need of more classroom space.

Imanishi noted there is a new multifamily apartment designed for families being developed in the neighborhood, and Coe Elementary has to take students living within the school’s enrollment area. That adds to the urgency of creating more classroom space.

“They have to take the kids that live in the enrollment area of that school,” she said.

Those unable to attend the Aug. 28 meeting can submit written comments by Monday, Aug. 26, to Nelson Pesigan, DON’s Major Institutions and Schools coordinator, at nelson.pesigan@seattle.gov or PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.