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December 9, 2022

McGranahan and BNBuilders complete unique school project in Federal Way

A/E Editor

Photos from Federal Way Public Schools [enlarge]
The schools share a common design language.

This fall design-build team McGranahan Architects and BNBuilders completed work on a unique two school project for Federal Way Public Schools. The project saw the construction of two distinct but connected schools, Evergreen Middle School (formerly Totem Middle School) and Star Lake Elementary, at 26812 40th Ave. S.

Initially the plan was to replace each school's aging building with a new standalone facility, but over time, and with the aid of community and stakeholder feedback, the team decided to integrate the schools within one shared building.

The total square footage of that building is 152,800 square feet. This consists of the new Evergreen Middle School which is 98,600 square feet and Star Lake Elementary which is 59,400 square feet. Evergreen was the first portion of the project to be completed and opened last fall. Star Lake was completed and opened this fall.

Photo by Arthur Ross [enlarge]
The schools are connected via a shared commons area and outdoor learning courtyard.

The schools are connected via shared amenity and common spaces that include a large library, commons with an operable wall for separate cafeterias, and a Family Connection Center. While they are connected, each has its own distinct but similar layout with separate entries, parking, administration, gyms, classrooms, scholar and staff support space, and play areas. Classrooms are located towards the back of each school and can be secured separately as an added safety measure. Evergreen has a three-story classroom wing where each grade has its own level. Star Lake's classroom wing is two stories.

Additionally the schools share an outdoor learning courtyard as well as service, custodial, and mechanical services.

On its website, McGranahan says the entire building has been designed with an efficient exterior envelope which enables high ceilings, ample daylight from clerestory windows and large window walls. On the interior natural finishes were added throughout to create a connection to nature. Externally the schools share a common palette of design materials in slightly different color schemes with Evergreen having more green tones and Star Lake blues.

A ribbon cutting was held Oct.12 to celebrate the project's completion. Student capacity is 525 at Star Lake and 800 at Evergreen.


Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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