Foundations For Our Future
Foundations For Our Future
Posted on 03/06/2019
Foundations For Our Future

We are excited to report construction continues to be on schedule, and four new/rebuilt elementary school buildings will open this fall. The first thing students, staff, and visitors will notice is the new schools are larger, and they are very different from any other elementary school in Puyallup. Each project has a separate architectural firm who created a unique design with its own personality. 

“We plan to stay on schedule, on budget, 
and deliver with confidence.”   
Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello

Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello says the new designs are purposeful and are different for important reasons. There is greater separation between major roads and where students are located, grade level classrooms are grouped together for easy collaboration, natural daylight requirements are being met, technology upgrades enhance learning, and safety in the designs tops the list.

For example, the new schools are designed with enhanced security. The architectural designs lend themselves to the latest safety and security measures in school design. The schools are placed as far from the road as the property will allow. They each have 40-50 security cameras, a vestibule with visibility to see visitors approaching the school, video communication buzz-in systems, and card access is required for entry.

While they look different, all four new elementary schools meet the same educational specifications. In order to ensure consistency and identify critical needs that reflect today’s environment, the Districtwide Elementary Educational Specifications were updated and approved by the Puyallup School Board in February 2016.

The updates reflect changes in educational programs, school capacity, and the approach to technology. They provide an outline for the physical environment that supports Puyallup School District’s vision for new and modernized elementary schools.

Design Advisory Teams were formed for each school project. The teams included district level staff, school staff, high school student leaders, community members, and parents representing the individual school. The teams were guided by the architects assigned to each project. The purpose was to identify site specific design concepts relating to the physical environment of the school while considering community, environment, and educational needs.

The work done by the Design Advisory Teams began with the district specification requirements and then applied them to the specific needs of the individual school. They considered things like characteristics of the community and neighborhood, characteristics of the parcel of land, special consideration for size, and desired relationships of learning areas within the school.

Unique characteristics

Dessie F. Evans Elementary
Dessie F. EvansAt 110,000 square feet Dessie F. Evans has the capacity to serve more than 1,000 students. It is comparable in size to Kalles, Glacier View, and Aylen junior high schools.

•  The two-story school has 44 homerooms and accommodates six classes per grade level.
  There are preschool classrooms.
  The zig zag classroom wings design allows for natural daylight in the classrooms and for additional support for safety and security.
  Dessie F. Evans Elementary sits at the back of 17 acres.
•  The long queue for parent drop-off is intended to alleviate congestion.
  Sitting on the north end of the lot separates the school and students from the road.
  Buses and cars have separate entrances.

Firgrove Elementary
Firgrove ElementaryThe new Firgrove Elementary is 80,000 square feet and will serve 730 students. Located at the west side of the site, it is off the busy Meridian highway and is perfect for teaming with Ballou Junior High. 

  The two-story school has 30 homerooms and accommodates four classes per grade level.
•  There are preschool classrooms.
   Firgrove is mainly constructed with steel.
  There is a skybridge which joins two wings of the building.
•  The proximity to Ballou allows for vertical teaming. Sixth graders may have more opportunity to visit the junior high prior to transitioning, and Ballou students may volunteer or tutor at Firgrove. 
•  The proximity of the two schools will allow the schools to share space, such as evening meetings or gymnasium activities.
  The gymnasium is much larger and there is a commons/cafeteria with a stage.

“Transitioning from elementary to junior high can be a challenging transition for some students. It’s powerful if our sixth graders have the opportunity to participate in pre-transition activities or events prior to making the move to junior high,” says Casello.

Northwood Elementary
Northwood ElementaryThe new Northwood building is stunningly different in comparison to the existing structure. At approximately 83,000 square feet it has the capacity to serve 730 students. At this time, sixth graders will still attend school at Edgemont Junior High.

  The two-story school has 30 homerooms and accommodates four classes per grade level. 
  Located at the back of the property gives ample room for car traffic and queuing.
  The large gym and commons/lunchroom are located at the back of the school.
  The library is on the second floor with large windows and lots of light.

Sunrise Elementary
Sunrise ElementarySunrise is the only three story elementary in the district. This is necessary due to the size of the property. At approximately 82,000 square feet, Sunrise will have the capacity to serve 730 students.

•  Sunrise has 30 homerooms and accommodates four classes per grade level.
•  Sunrise is mainly constructed with wood materials.
  The library is two stories, beginning on the second floor.
  A new traffic light and crosswalk will be placed in front of the school.

Pope Elementary remodel
The Pope Elementary remodel project open bid on February 20, 2019. The bid was awarded to Pease and Sons, Inc., located in Tacoma. The architect for the project is Mahlum.

Pope renderingConstruction is expected to begin in early April and is scheduled for completion by fall 2020.

Students and staff will return to find a newly renovated larger school with a new commons, 32 classrooms, an expanded library, and a new playground. Existing classrooms will have some upgrades and improvements, new interior finishes, new furniture, and upgraded technology. The parking lot will be modified to improve traffic flow.