Design Planning Begins for Swanson Elementary




Those are some of the headlines community members and families hope to see when a new Swanson Elementary School opens in 2018.

Vision and input sessions are underway to begin designing the new school, part of the 79.9 million dollar Major Facilities Plan passed by Westside stakeholders in May of 2015.

Project Advocates, District leadership and key design team members from Alley Poyner Macchietto are meeting with students, teachers, community members and a designated Design Advisory Committee to determine priorities and to gather ideas.

“We don’t feel it’s right to start, to dive right in, without listening,” said Todd Moeller, lead architect with Alley Poyner Macchietto.


Multiple representatives from the firm have been on hand at each input session involving students, teachers and community members.  They intend to engage all groups several times throughout the design and construction process.

At each meeting, representatives have revealed preliminary plans for Swanson Elementary.

–       The school will grow approximately 150% in size, primarily to provide a separate gym from the cafeteria, and to dedicate space to elective classrooms and special education

–       It is not yet clear if the building will be one or two story, or what shape it will take, but the goal will be to follow a similar footprint to where the existing building sits

–       The new building will not negatively impact the arboretum


Each meeting has also allowed for feedback and brainstorming.

–       A desire for community space open to public use but still separate from classrooms

–       A need for flex space that will adapt with changing technology and the evolving needs of teachers and students

–       Best utilize the arboretum and green space to preserve the area and use it as a teaching tool for students, recess space, etc.

–       Preserve the character of building that fits the community and neighborhood

–       Focus on key logistical issues including drainage, drop off and parking

–       Pursue a sustainable building design exploring geothermal, solar and other alternative energy solutions

–       Separate areas for gym and cafeteria

–       Create areas comparable to galleries to display student work, art, projects

–       Prioritize safety, both with security issues and shelter in dangerous weather

Several key themes were a focus for all groups, including a desire to make this building adaptable and durable to last the test of time and changing needs.  Community members want to ensure all involved stick to the budget and timeline.  Teachers stressed a desire to create a building that would best serve the needs of all students.

The next community input session will be scheduled in late February or early March after traffic studies are complete.

Swanson students and teachers will move to the Swing School as construction takes place.  The new Swanson Elementary School is slated to open in 2018.


Have questions or comments? CLICK HERE to contact us via Let’s Talk: click on Swanson Elementary under Major Facilities Plan.