Story written by Dylan Chaffin; photos/video by Scott Stoddard
Tucked away in the trees off of Southeast Swenson Drive, just north of Snoqualmie Parkway, the valley district’s newest elementary school, Timber Ridge, is quickly taking shape.
The roughly 70,000-square-foot facility is, for the most part, in phase 2 of construction. Divided into four wings, crews have begun painting and installing ceiling tiles in the east section, leading by a slim margin over the south section.
Timber Ridge will have a total of 29 general-education classrooms to accommodate 650 students, said Assistant Superintendent Ryan Stokes during a tour of the site.
Many of the teachers will be coming from other schools, but the school district is in the process of hiring teachers as well as administrators.
The design for Timber Ridge was inspired by Cascade View Elementary, which was built a decade or so ago, said district Superintendent Joel Aune.
“It’s cool that we have a working design that we can just improve on,” Stokes added.
The new school will feature several improvements in building security as well as energy efficiency based on continually changing building codes.
While there’s no second floor, architects designed windows that function similarly to skylights but offer more protection against the heavy winds and rains Snoqualmie sees.
Additionally, crews have built the school with waterproof membranes to keep water out of the foundation. Rainwater will eventually travel to a holding pond south of the school.
“It’s important when you have 90 mile-per-hour winds and 90 inches of rain,” said project manager Clint Marsh.
The contracting company, Babbit Neuman Construction, also built Cascade View Elementary and averages 45 workers on staff.
Aune said the district isn’t looking at utilizing solar panels at this point, and that the donation from NW Solar and Wind to Snoqualmie Elementary School is more of an opportunity for students to learn about energy and energy efficiency.
“Four kilowatts isn’t enough to power a school,” Stokes said. He also noted that the district didn’t want to give anyone the incentive of climbing on the roof of the school to vandalize or otherwise disrupt the solar panels.
Part of the newest additions to the school are in enhanced security. The main entrance will be on the west side of the building near the gymnasium, where a series of doors steers visitors into the main administration and secretary area for sign-in.
In accordance with fire code, the school has several side doors that can serve as fire exits should other doors be locked down during an emergency.
A hallway will separate the gym and the administrative offices. Several common areas throughout the school will provide places for students to divide up into small groups while windows into the classrooms will let teachers keep an eye on activities.
The main hallway will branch off into classrooms but will lead to a central combined media room and library, Marsh said.
The gym will be the last part of construction. Walls will be constructed on the ground and then hoisted, Aune said.
A full-sized soccer field is on the southern part of campus, next to a smaller field where students will be able to play kickball and T-ball, Stokes said. Part of the funds will be used to build a covered playground in the courtyard next to the gym.
The next steps:
— Installation of exterior siding
— Interior painting and installation of ceiling panels
— Continued installation of fire sprinkler systems, heating and ventilation, roof shingles and walls.
The school is slated to open this fall.
photo by Scott Stoddard
For a video and 41 photos taken of the construction, click here for theMarch 15 SnoValley Star articleentitled: "Timber Ridge Elementary construction at full speed."