Following a June 1 symposium to gather ideas for a new Walnut Grove Elementary that would help the school overcome its facility-related challenges, planning teams of staff members and architects translated the key themes into architectural concepts and designs. On June 3, they unveiled three concepts for a new, larger school.
The following illustrations are artistic conceptual drawings only. They do not reflect final school design plans.
At Walnut Grove, learning can extend beyond the classroom walls and past the bell at the end of the day. By engaging families, creating partnerships and making learning accessible and engaging for all students, the school can become the center of the community.
This design celebrates three areas of the school’s community. The learning community is where students work collaboratively and creatively and have access to resources in a safe, supportive environment.
Embracing and welcoming families is a valued component of the plan. So that families feel welcome at the school and can see all the amazing opportunities and learning in which students are engaged, this concept has open spaces for assemblies and performances.
In addition, space has been set aside for outside organizations to use the facility, which also serves as a central point for a variety of services. Developing and creating these community partnerships will help the school support the neighborhood and community’s needs.
This concept is designed to foster physical, social, emotional and academic growth. Beginning with onsite preschool facilities, this school prepares students for sixth grade and beyond.
During their time in the “nest,” students have countless opportunities to collaborate, be creative and experience activity-based learning. Each grade level has a common space, or nest, dedicated to practicing social and leadership skills, as well as spaces intended for hands-on learning and technology integration. This site also offers community resources, including meeting facilities, a Family-Community Resource Center and courses for parents and families.
The school’s exterior provides many learning opportunities, too. Beyond the improved arrival and departure area, students enjoy inviting play spaces with trails, climbing areas and opportunities for imaginative play. A learning garden facilitates outdoor instruction and fosters community relationships.
Walnut Grove Elementary: a school designed to meet the challenge of creating members of a global community.
The natural design concept focuses on connecting the school’s rich history to the future. The goal is for all to experience natural learning within an outside environment with low-maintenance native vegetation. In a time when many students are missing out on natural experiences, this concept is a learning environment with classrooms nestled in the treetops, allowing sunlight and fresh air in every space. Modeling sustainable practices and using organic materials inspire students to think critically and creatively. Expansive covered areas allow students, the staff and visitors to embrace the temperate climate of Pacific Northwest. The space also challenges students to extend their thinking beyond typical expectations. This design addresses the needs of the community by creating a comfortable area for the needs of the whole child, as well as for the entire community, in a park-like oasis.
An extensive review and planning will assess feasibility and affordability and hone the concepts into more detailed plans.
Thanks to voter approval of a bond measure, the rebuild of Walnut Grove Elementary is slated to begin in September 2019, depending on contractor availability, bond cash flow and other circumstances.
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In March 2015, the district conducted an informal online survey about district facilities needs. More than 1,500 respondents—parents, students, staff members and the community—told VPS how its buildings and properties could be improved and suggested schools that should be rebuilt. Ongoing symposia and staff, parent and community presentations are providing input on school designs. This input helps district leaders assess facilities needs and plan for the future.
Many VPS schools are slated to be rebuilt or significantly renovated. Every other VPS school will receive upgrades.
Proposed funding for the work is a bond measure that could be on the ballot in February 2017. However, the district’s board of directors must first approve the measure before it can appear on the ballot.
The community last approved a VPS bond measure in 2001. That bond helped replace or build Eisenhower, Franklin, Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Sarah J. Anderson and Washington elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.