Approved Design for New Mount Si High School

  • The School Board approved the schematic design in December 2015 and the educational specifications on May 26, 2016. To minimize student disruption, shorten the construction time and improve the overall design, the plan calls for building the new school where the front parking lot and baseball fields are currently located. To continue to focus support for freshmen during their transition year into high school, a new freshman building is part of the new school. To compare the new design with the current footprint of the Mount Si High School, scroll to the bottom of the page for an aerial photo of the present-day school.
    HS Schematic Design
    This image shows the approved high school design site plan. The Performing Arts Center (PAC) (light blue, at top) and the gymnasium (turquoise) will offer easy access to the public and both can be closed off from the rest of the building during community use. The remainder of the building will run along Meadowbrook Avenue, with the main entrance located where the large purple building is indicated. The purple buildings = administrative/counseling areas, dark orange = Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms, light orange = academic classroom areas; dark gray = life skills classes; light gray = kitchen/culinary arts area; off white = common areas/ lunchrooms; and, green = outdoor spaces. The separate building on the far right is the new Freshman Campus, created to continue focused support for students transitioning into high school; it will also have a primary entrance and parent drop-off area. In addition to the parking lots shown above, parking will be created on the ground level underneath the majority of the school, with the exception of the PAC. The stadium, track and tennis courts will remain in their current locations.
    The new facility is being expanded to 355,000 square feet, compared to the current school that is 224,000 square feet. The buildings will be elevated above floodway levels, with three-story buildings on top of ground-level parking, with natural lighting and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. The elevated design of the building also serves to improve the District’s ability to monitor and restrict access to the school when in session, improving overall student safety and security. The school is also being designed with an open media area/library for student collaboration, wide hallways, multiple common areas/lunch rooms, more science and lab spaces, flexible Career and Technical Education (CTE) spaces, a roof-top green house, and unique outdoor spaces utilized throughout the campus.
    Bird's eye view of HS Design
    The rendering above shows the front bird’s eye view of the new design. From this view, the Performing Arts Center is on the left; the gym is in the center; next to the main entrance of the school, with the media area above the front offices. The majority of the school runs along Meadowbrook Way, with the Freshman Campus at the north end.
    Design Elements:
    External materials for the new school were selected by the High School Design Committee, comprised of students, staff, parents and administrators. Durable, low maintenance materials were selected to help withstand climate factors and to save on costs of upkeep over time. The materials include corrugated steel siding, and fiber cement/composite panels in corresponding shades of lighter and darker gray, plus warm accent colors using material that looks like wood, but is actually made of steel.  The Design Team also selected trim color of terracotta to complement the exterior materials.
    Material to be used on HS exterior
    Materials palette for outside the new high school
     Rendering view of front of HS from Meadowbrook  Rendering of approaching the front entrance of the new HS
     Rendering form view along Meadowbrook  Rendering of HS Freshman Campus at right
    Renderings of the new Mount Si High School schematic design with terracotta colored trim.
    Design Findings and Cost Implications:

    Further study on the design cost estimate has confirmed that the original budget is on track to accomplish the original building scope defined in the school bond.

    In addition, a few unanticipated items were identified during the engineer and design process and additional structural studies. The following four projects were approved by the School Board, adding to the long-term value of the school as a community resource:
    • Building a new Gymnasium complex, rather than renovating the old (see explanation below)
    • Expansion of originally anticipated foundation system – required to meet new building code and address soil conditions.
    • Incorporating artificial turf and lights to the relocated baseball and softball fields – to increase year-round, multi-sport use of fields and help meet the needs of the community and overall expanded student capacity. 
    • Planning for future expansion – By prepping part of the platform foundation now (the open space located adjacent to the new freshman campus building), the District would have space on campus that it could leverage, if needed for future enrollment. This preparation includes additional parking that would be required to serve up to 300 more students, if needed. This decision to plan ahead now will save costs and reduce disruption to future students; It also takes into consideration that the school’s elevated design will not easily accommodate adding portables to parking lots, as the school has in the past when extra space was needed.
    New Gym Approved for New Building Codes, Seismic Safety: After the conceptual design for the high school was approved last June, architects worked on developing the schematic design of the school which involved more in-depth study of the building’s needs. This included a structural engineering analysis and soil testing under the gymnasium, to determine the scope of work needed to meet standards required by new, more stringent building codes and to ensure seismic safety of a gym renovation. The analysis determined that, while the planned gym renovation could meet new code requirements related to life safety, the gym would likely need significant repairs after a large seismic event, due to the soil conditions deep below the gym. After NAC Architecture presented its findings and potential options to the District in August, the District recommended building a new gym, rather than renovating the old gym, to provide a safer, longer-term investment for the community. The School Board approved this plan revision on September 10, 2015.

    Cost of unanticipated projects: Costs for the original scope of the $188 million school rebuild and expansion, as defined in the bond, remain within the budget. For the four unanticipated scope changes described above, the architects estimate a possible cost of up to $20 million. The District qualified for $7 million in state matching funds related to the new Elementary School construction. Also, the high school rebuild project will qualify for state matching funds estimated at approximately $20-21 million. During bond planning, these funds were set aside to address unanticipated changes that can emerge during construction projects. Unused state matching funds at the conclusion of the project will be used to help pay down the bond debt and save taxpayers money.
    For a detailed update on the Schematic Design, including more pictures, refer to:

    Background information
    Designing the High School: Planning started with the High School Educational Visioning Process that took place from October 2014-February 2015 to identify key priorities for a new school design. During this time, a committee of about 35 high school staff, students, parents and administrators studied how a new building could best serve all students and their learning needs. Their work resulted in consensus around some key educational concepts that would help guide the design work to follow.

    Soon after the bond was approved, another group was assembled to serve as the High School Design Team. This group was comprised of approximately 40 participants including: 10-12 teachers representing a broad range of subjects in the high school; 10 students spanning 8th-11th grades; nine PTSA presidents or designees representing parents from every school in the District; four high school administrators and secretaries; two assistant superintendents; plus architects and school construction experts.

    The High School Design Team began their work by building upon the priorities identified during the High School Educational Visioning Process. Starting in March of 2015, the Design Team visited several other schools, and met regularly with the architects to develop the new high school design for our community. The team considered the results of the spring 2015 Thoughtexchange engagement activity which solicited input from staff, students, parents and community members on the design concepts. The Design Team also engaged with high school staff throughout the process, before reaching agreement on their conceptual design recommendation for the high school in June.
    Community engagement has played an important role in the process, especially during the early planning stage, before decisions were made. Two opportunities were offered for the public to learn more and share their ideas to help guide the Design Team’s decisions:
    • A Community Meeting on April 2, 2015, provided an update on timelines, the visioning work, and the Design Team's efforts to date, as well as an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and contribute ideas. (View the April 2 Presentation.)
    • The District also initiated an online engagement activity called Thoughtexchange in March-April of 2015 that invited people to openly share their ideas, concerns and hopes for a new design. The activity provided an easy-to-use process by which people were able to review others’ comments and help prioritize (star) the ideas they liked best. This analysis helped the Design Team understand the shared values and priorities that emerged from the community for their design planning. Click on the image below for the spring 2015 Thoughtexchange results.
    Thoughtexchange results
    Design Team Updates:
    Conceptual Design Approved for a New Mount Si High School: On June 25, 2015, the School Board approved the conceptual design for the Mount Si High School renovation and expansion, as recommended by the High School Design Team. Then in September, a revision to the design was approved which involved building a new gym as opposed to renovating the old. This revision switched the locations of the gym and Performing Arts Center (in the original plan). With the approved plan, students will be able to continue to use the old gym until the new gym is constructed, and likewise, students will be able to use the current auditorium, until the new PAC is completed. This is an improvement from the original plan, which would have taken the existing gym out of service for periods of time during construction.

    See the approved site plan, posted at the top of this webpage, for the final conceptual design.

    The approved design concept allows for a much shorter construction period and significantly less disruption than was initially estimated for plans to build a school on the same footprint as the current school. Instead of having to "phase" construction over five years, ending in 2022, the approved design concept will allow all students and staff to be served in new school buildings by 2019.
    Slide show of photos from the Community Meeting and Design Team work sessions
    Mount Si High School Current Aerial
     Current aerial view of Mount Si High School