From the Field: New Schools in the Works

Highlights from projects that are reimagining the spaces where kids learn.

Seattle is among the nation’s fastest growing big cities and school districts in neighboring counties are feeling the effects. An overwhelming number of schools are at capacity and struggling in facilities that meet neither current building codes or student needs.

As student needs evolve, so do curriculums. Modern curriculums are designed differently, often intended to develop skills like collaboration, innovation and creativity in students. Facilities in turn, mirror the curriculums with spaces that support untraditional programming.

We support the efforts of our many School District partners as they evolve their schools, facilities and programs. Here, we showcase three K-12 projects who are advancing their programs and creating best-possible experiences for their students.

Stevenson Elementary School Replacement

Stevenson will soon be the largest elementary school in the Bellevue district and students and staff look forward to moving into the modernized, expanded space. “We are so crowded and we are using every nook and cranny here now in many different ways,” states Transition Principal Jill McLeod, “I think (the new building) is going to feel wonderful.”

Ensuring each student feels welcome and like a “Stevenson Kid” is essential to the design. The school will embrace its international community by incorporating multi-lingual signage and artwork from diverse cultures. “We are interested in having an international feel to the school through design and art because we have children from all over the world,” says McLeod.

The heart of the school is the cultural center, a tapered, double-height rotunda. The top of the rotunda reveals exposed structure highlighted by a set of ribbon windows that invites plenty of natural light into the space. This structural feature connects common areas, administrative offices, art and music areas, and the new family planning program. Additionally, exposed braced frames throughout the school showcase structural calculations, enabling students to visualize how their school was built.

Fun Fact: Bench seating areas will be made from existing cherry blossom trees, which an arborist determined wouldn’t survive replanting.

Owner: Bellevue School District
Architect: Sierra-Martin Architects
Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Civil Engineer: LPD Engineering PLLC
General Contractor: Cornerstone General Contractors
Landscape Architect: Weisman Design Group

Juanita High School Replacement

Lake Washington School District is the fastest-growing district in King County, but not the only one grappling with rapidly growing enrollment rates and outdated, aging facilities. Through a $398 million bond measure, the project will develop approximately 240,000 square feet of building space including a new wing of academic classrooms, commons, entry, library, and a STEM school within the campus.

Among other program changes, the new building includes multi-functional, adaptable spaces for collaboration and special projects. Site renewal includes new walkways and landscaping, resurfacing the tennis courts, and reconfiguring parking lots to improve vehicle flow on site. Extensive plazas, stepping of the foundation and grade leveling will improve pedestrian flow and accessibility.

The project broke ground June of 2017 and is expected to open Fall 2020.

Fun Fact: Phased construction of a new three-story academic building will expand Juanita High School’s enrollment capacity by 40 percent and provide space for 1,800 students.

Owner: Lake Washington School District
Architect: Integrus Architecture
Structural Engineer: Integrus Architecture
Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
General Contractor: Cornerstone General Contractors
Landscape Architect: Weisman Design Group

Lincoln High School Modernization

After an extended closure and serving as an interim school, it’s time to modernize Lincoln High School to meet the neighborhood’s needs. Comprised of multiple wings constructed between 1906 and 1959, the buildings are an disjointed mix of concrete, timber, steel and masonry (reinforced and unreinforced) construction, and each wing contains its own structural system. While portions of the campus have been renovated, the current project consists of a complete overhaul of the west half of the campus to support new pedagogy and technology. Retaining elements such as the brick façade allows the school to remain true to its historic roots.

Community input influenced elements of the modernization. A glass enclosure between the north and central wings defines a new primary entry and a two-story learning commons is the heart of the campus.

Fun Fact: You can take virtual tours of the Library and Commons.

Owner: Seattle Public Schools Facilities & Construction Department
Owner’s Rep: Heery International
Architect: Bassetti Architects
Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Civil Engineer: LPD Engineering PLLC
General Contractor: Lydig Construction
Landscape Architect: Cascade Design Collaborative