Communities Celebrate Groundbreakings for Three Schools in Puget Sound Area

Three schools in the Puget Sound, Wash., area designed by DLR Group are currently under construction. DLR Group joined District officials from Tacoma Public Schools, students, teachers and community members to celebrate groundbreakings on the new Wainwright Intermediate Schools and McCarver Elementary June 3 and 10 respectively. DLR Group also joined Tahoma Public Schools for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Tahoma High School on June 5.

“It’s inspiring to see the support and excitement from our local communities,” said DLR Group Principal Lisa Johnson. “These two School Districts have the backing of both their school families and community partners, and they are working harmoniously to improve the educational offerings to their students.”

The new Wainwright Intermediate School will be the District’s first elementary/intermediate school serving 450 students in grades 4-8. DLR Group’s design focuses on flexible, collaborative learning suites and environments that support project-based learning, team teaching and direct instruction. The 63,000 SF facility will be used as a teaching tool with cutaways that expose systems, giving students access inside the building’s operational infrastructure. An exterior pathway dubbed the “tree walk” encourages outdoor learning and exploration among the natural landscape of the surrounding forest. Wainwright Intermediate School is scheduled to open in fall of 2016.

Originally constructed in 1925, McCarver Elementary School is undergoing an 80,000 SF renovation and modernization to offer innovative learning solutions in a beloved historic building. The K-5 school primarily serves transient and homeless students, resulting in student turnover as high as 179 percent annually. DLR Group’s design provides the school’s 450 students with a facility where they can truly feel a sense of belonging and ownership. The spaces for congregating, eating and learning will support a progressive curriculum, including components such as gardening and fresh food preparation, shared learning spaces, and a community-focused "McCarver Square", which can act as library, performance venue and collaborative project space among other opportunities. McCarver Elementary School is scheduled to open in fall of 2016.

Upon completion in 2017, Tahoma High School will be the largest high school in the state with 315,000 square feet of instructional space to accommodate 2,400 students. The new school allows the District to reconfigure from 10-12 to a 9-12 high school. Career and Technical Education specialty areas will offer hands-on learning opportunities in the areas of auto tech, manufacturing, fabrication, robotics, health/sports medicine and informational technology. As part of the high school, the new Regional Learning Center will serve the Maple Valley community with joint-use amenities such as a gymnasium, auditorium, library and community hub that supports school and community functions.