David Rosen
Fairmount Park Elementary School will open at the start of the 2014-15 school year with room for 500 students, after a $20 million makeover.

SLIDESHOW: Fairmount Park Elementary will open with a new look for new faces Sept. 3

Ribbon cutting ceremony is Sept. 2 at 2:45pm

The West Seattle Herald was given a tour of Fairmount Park Elementary School which was originally built in 1964 but closed in 2007 and was subsequently given a nearly $20 million makeover.

It will open Sept. 3 following a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2:45pm Sept. 2 attended by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Julie Breidenbach the new Fairmount Park Principal, the design team, and other local dignitaries.

The school is located at 3800 S.W. Findlay Street.

The project included a complete renovation and modernization of the existing building and construction of a 200-seat, 12 classroom addition. The capacity of the school is now 500 students, though it will open with approximately 350 and have room for growth.

Project Manager Jeanette Imanishi had her office on site for the duration of the update. She noted that the overall project put an emphasis on bringing in natural light to the classrooms, common spaces and offices.

The Cafe-Torium got improved shades, new audio system, new projection screen, new curtains for the stage, a new ADA access lift, refinished and revamped stairs to the stage.

The kitchen got all new equipment including convection ovens and refrigeration units. Imanishi said since no actual cooking or food prep is done on site (handled at the Stanford Center) the school is expected to serve approximately 50 to 100 lunches daily. The remainder will bring their own lunch.

When Fairmount Park was originally built there was no fire suppression system installed. Now they have a state of the art system in place.

The previous boiler room was replaced and all new venting, duct work and control equipment from Cleaver Brooks was installed.

The power distribution systems inside were all upgraded for greater efficiency and to deliver more power to the school for increased use of electronic gear.

A previous play court was reclaimed and is now a music room (with instrument storage in cage lockers) and an art room (complete with a kiln).

Classrooms now have "ultra short throw" digital projectors.

The floor in the gym was refinished and new game lines were added. A climbing wall was added.

Daycare will be offered on site with services provided by the YMCA.

iPads will be an important component for instruction (though books are still important and are a fundamental part of the process). iPads at the school will be kept in what are called "cows", mobile recharging and storage units.

Power drops were added to the ceiling of the kindergarten classroom to permit electronic gear to be brought for students i.e; microscopes, and avoid having extension cords on the floor.

In service of ecological awareness, water fountains in the school have a feature that will permit students to fill reusable water bottles and keep track of how many disposable bottles they have avoided using.

Various elements at the school were retained and refurbished, such as the original school sign, a jump height sign in the gym, and other elements. The school colors of blue and white are used extensively.

Modernization work done also includes:

  • Abatement and demolition of unnecessary site structures.
  • Abatement and demolition of interior spaces as necessary to reconfigure for optimum use.
  • Rehabilitation of building envelope including roof replacement, exterior wall updates and painting, and installation of energy efficient windows.
  • Structural work and earthquake retrofitting including installation of roof diaphragm, tying roof structure to supporting walls, and installing lateral bracing systems.
  • Interior finish work such as replacing floor and ceiling finishes and complete repainting.
  • Addressing accessibility issues such as wheelchair access, restroom sizes, and accessible fixtures.
  • Renovation or replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
  • Technology upgrades such as building-wide wi-fi and data networks.
  • Installation of new fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
  • Installation of new clock/intercom system.
  • New furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • Site work including new on-site bus load/unload zone, playground repaving and game line striping, energy-efficient lighting, expansion of the loading dock, and restriping of the parking lot.

Project sustainability features include:

  • Centrally monitored energy management system for heating, ventilation, and power
  • Lighting controls
  • Finish materials containing recycled content
  • Polished concrete floors
  • Roof and exterior wall insulation exceeding code minimum R-value
  • New energy efficient exterior windows with many oriented to maximize daylight but minimize solar heat gain
  • High-efficiency boiler system
  • Low-maintenance landscaping

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