Washington Chapter

The geographic area served consists of the state of Washington.

Region / Chapter Member Care Manager: Donna Robinson, CMM, CMP

Virtual Tour

September 23, 2020
4:00 pm Pacific
Webinar via Zoom

Members/School Districts: FREE
Non-members: $10


Deadline to register: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm

You will receive the link to join the webinar on Wednesday, September 23rd prior to 12:00 pm.

Firgrove Elementary School

Firgrove Firgrove Elementary serves the South Hill community in the south end of the District in unincorporated Pierce County. It is located on a 40-acre shared site along State Highway 161 (Meridian Avenue) with Ballou Junior High. To the west and south, the site is bordered by a significant forested area and residential developments. The new replacement school imagines a safe, welcoming, student-centered environment that strengthens community, inspires students and connects to nature. Firgrove elementary currently serves 730 students in grades PK-6.

The new Firgrove in many ways is a reaction to the context of the existing school. Fronting a major arterial of strip malls, constant traffic and exhaust, the existing school was a very challenging environment. During design, we heard from teachers that, “we have done exhaust now let’s do something different!” The new design nestles into a dense forested edge framing an east/west entry plaza between the building and the trees. As a result, an intimate connection to nature is part of everyday arrival and dismissal. The idea of nature is reinforced buy a substantial rain garden that runs in the east/west direction. The rain garden is integral to the storm water management while also providing a natural backdrop to classrooms on either side.


A two-story classroom bar to the south is paired with a one-story public bar to the north, revealing a green spine of rain gardens. Lush planting and outdoor learning areas occupy the space between the bars. The green spine extends from the learning spaces out to the parking and entry plaza and welcomes the student and greater community into the school. This outreach is strengthened by a large sheltering overhang which gives protection to those approaching the main entry. By locating the library in a bridge over the main entry, the building sends a message to the community that Firgrove is deservedly a place of beauty, pride and inspiration.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Attendees will come away with the importance of creating a campus framework early in conceptual design, and how that step can help a single replacement project transform two previously isolated schools, Ballou Jr. High and the existing Firgrove Elementary, into a campus that supports community and encourages collaboration.
  2. Students engage learning experientially. Attendees will see an example of how learning objectives can be brought to life in the building and be inspired by wayfinding graphics that brings the site ecosystem into the building wayfinding experience.
  3. With poor draining soils and shallow water table it was identified early in the design process that the site hydrology was going to be a challenge. In an effort avoid the cost large structured detention vaults, an extensive raingarden was used to capitalize on veins of relatively decent soil. This element allows all learning settings to be visually and spatially connected to nature and creates a quiet buffer between the activity of the classroom and the activity of transportation and play beyond.
  4. In effort to manage the budget innovative decisions about the building’s structure were made early in the design process that challenged conventional steel frame design. As a result, the design team was able to minimize the height of the building, reducing steal weight and exterior skin.
Design Team:
Architect: Mahlum
Landscape Architect: Weisman Design Group, Inc.
Civil Engineer: LPD Engineering PLLC
Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Mechanical Engineer: Hargis Engineers, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Hargis Engineers, Inc.
Acoustical: A3 Acoustics, LLC
Cost: Robinson Company
Value Analysis: Studio Meng Strazzara
Food Service Consultant: Clevenger Associates
General Contractor: Neeley Construction

2020 Polished Apple Award


Lacamas Lake Elementary School Lacamas Lake Elementary School
Camas School District
Camas, WA
Mahlum Architects

Submittal »


Discovery High School Discovery High School
Camas School District
Camas, WA
DLR Group

Submittal »
Lincoln High School Lincoln High School
Seattle Public Schools
Seattle, WA
Bassetti Architects

Submittal »

People’s Choice Award

Salish Coast Elementary School Salish Coast Elementary School
Port Townsend School District
Port Townsend, WA
Integrus Architecture

Submittal »

View all entries »  


2021 Annual Chapter Conference

ConnectED   June 21-23, 2021
Wenatchee Convention Center
Wenatchee, WA

Click here for more information and to register for the conference.

POSTPONED – Tour & Dinner Meeting

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Dessie Evans Elementary School

Puyallup School District
7911 144th St Ct E
Puyallup, WA 98375

Dessie Evans
Dessie Evans
Dessie Evans
With a large population for an elementary school, Dessie Evans is big enough to accommodate over 1,000 students, which translates into 44 home rooms, or about six classes at each grade level. 110,000 square feet of opportunities for 21st century learning. Nestled into the woods, the building connects classrooms with the natural world, even while in a residential neighborhood. The wooded site presented challenges and opportunities.

Innovative Solutions
The unusual shape required an unconventional response. Only one side offered access from the street, and happened to be the narrowest portion. Instead of locating the building near the front, with the field/play areas at the back, the building is placed towards the back to bring students together with nature as part of everyday learning.

Each classroom wing has an outdoor learning area nearby, facilitating impromptu trips outside. The large circles can support a full class for learning activities, with reclaimed logs and boulders for seating. The building is designed to separate the more noisy, public activities (Gym, Commons, Stage, Music) from the quieter classroom wings. For evening events, security doors can close off the academic wings to prevent them being accessed from the Commons, and operable walls can be opened to connect the Gym, Commons, and Stage.

Sustainable Design Strategies
Solar orientation was carefully considered when placing the new building on the site. Most classrooms have windows facing north or south. This avoids glare due to low‐angle light from the east and west. The sunshades on the south windows optimize daylight by preventing glare and solar heat gain. General lighting is automatically adjusted for optimum energy savings. Photo sensors on the ceiling detect the amount of available daylight to calculate how much electric light is needed. Dimmable lighting reduces lighting energy use by approximately 50% on sunny days when the shades are open.

The large detention pond acts like a forest by collecting stormwater and slowly releasing it downstream. Based on the Department of Ecology’s requirements, the pond, along with native plantings in the area, work with the natural environment to mitigate soil erosion, resist flooding, and protect the local wildlife habitat.

Reinforcement of the Surrounding Community
Dessie Evans Elementary occupies an underdeveloped site in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Puyallup. The school is situated specifically to prioritize safety and eliminate congestion. The site is only accessible by its narrowest side, which made programming challenging. Instead of taking the conventional approach up placing the building towards the front and the field/play areas towards the back, the building was placed towards the back, allowing the classrooms to have the opportunity to be nestled towards the woods. This orientation reinforces the neighborhood’s connections with nature, connections that are echoed throughout the school’s design. The location of the playfield also creates opportunities for a variety of community uses.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will be able to identify the benefits of using color and graphics to aid wayfinding.
  • Participants will be able to recognize the advantages of breaking a large school down into smaller learning communities.
  • Participants will be able to give examples of integrated classroom technology systems and components (interactive displays, LCD display screens, voice amplification, Wi‐Fi, tablet charging stations, scene‐based lighting controls).
  • Participants will be able to learn about site strategies to manage a large student population for arrival and dismissal.

Project Team:
Architect: NAC Architecture
Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions
Civil Engineer: CPL
Landscape Architect: Weisman Design Group
Mechanical Engineer: Metrix Engineers
Electrical Engineer: NAC Electrical Engineers
Acoustical: SSA Accoustics
Cost: RLB|Robinson
General Contractor: Garco Construction

Tour: 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Dessie Evans Elementary School

Dinner: 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Farm 12
3303 #B 8th Ave SE
Puyallup, WA 98372

Members (Early) $50.00
Non-Members (Early)   $60.00
Members (Late) $60.00
Non-Members (Late) $70.00
School Districts $30.00

Please register so we can get an accurate head count.

Early bird cutoff is 5:00 pm, March 18, 2020


We greatly appreciate your attendance and active participation in our chapter events.

POSTPONED – Western Washington Bus Tour

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Members: $55
Non-Members: $70
School Districts Special Rate: $30


Tentative Timeline
7:50 AM – 9:45 AM Buses take ferry from Seattle to Bremerton. Buses travel to Klahowya Secondary School in Silverdale
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM Tour Klahowya Secondary School
7607 NW Newbury Hill Rd, Silverdale, WA 98383
Central Kitsap School District
Bassetti Architects
Neeser Construction

Klahowya is nestled in a 1,200-acre wildlife refuge. Bassetti designed its new classroom wing to embrace the lush forest surrounding the school and connect students to nature. Classrooms are organized around flexible, collaborative learning spaces. Experiential graphics highlight the importance of the old tree growth of the Puget Sound.
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Buses load and travel to Central Kitsap Middle School in Silverdale
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Tour Central Kitsap Middle School
3700 NW Anderson Hill Rd, Silverdale, WA 98383
Central Kitsap School District

The Central Kitsap High School and Middle School project represents a new direction for the district: consolidate two schools into a joint facility. Organized to maximize opportunities on the steeply sloped site and incorporate views of the surrounding area, the design creates a distinct identity for both schools while sharing infrastructure and an innovative CTE facility and programs.
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Box Lunch at Central Kitsap Middle School
12:45 PM – 1:00 PM Buses load and travel to Olympic High School in Bremerton
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Tour Olympic High School
7070 Stampede Blvd NW, Bremerton, WA 98311
Central Kitsap School District
Sundberg Kennedy Ly Au Young Architects

Olympic High School replaced an existing 1977 building with a new 92,000 SF centerpiece, that includes a prominent new Entry, Classrooms, Technical Labs, and a Performing Arts Theatre. Central to the scheme is a light-filled Commons where students, staff and the community can congregate, feel welcome and engage in flexible learning.
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Buses load and travel to Blakely Elementary on Bainbridge Island
2:45 PM – 3:30 PM Tour Blakely Elementary
4704 Blakely Ave, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Bainbridge Island School District
Forma Construction

Blakely Elementary is a K-4 replacement school inspired by the surrounding forest and sloping site. Its façade references Douglas fir anatomy, while structural trees line the central circulation spine. The plan incorporates a learning cluster module of four classrooms folded around shared learning areas for equitable daylight, access and engagement.
3:30 PM Buses load and travel back to TBA via Bainbridge to Seattle ferry. Drop Participants off at TBA
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Happy Hour at TBD

POSTPONED – Eastern Washington Bus Tour

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

This tour is capped at 45 attendees!

Members: $25
Non-Members: $35
School Districts: Free


Tentative Timeline
1st Stop North Pines Middle School
11900 E Broadway Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99206
Central Valley School District
ALSC Architects
Garco Construction
2nd Stop Shiloh Hills Elementary School
505 E Stonewall Ave, Spokane, WA 99208
Mead School District
MMEC Architects
Garco Construction
3rd Stop Lunch
Location TBD
4th Stop Linwood Elementary School
906 W Weile Ave, Spokane, WA 99208
Spokane School District
Integrus Architecture
TW Clark Construction
5th Stop North Central High School
1600 N Howard St, Spokane, WA 99205
Spokane School District
NAC Architecture
Garco Construction


Service Day at Tillicum Elementary School

Clover Park SD Saturday, April 18, 2020
9 AM – 4 PM
8514 Maple St SW
Lakewood, WA 98498


A4LE is joining together to give back to our community. Tillicum Elementary School in Lakewood has been selected as our Day of Service Project on Saturday, April 18th from 9 am-4 pm. Please join us in giving back to the students and community of Lakewood by donating funds, products or volunteering your time on April 18th! Volunteer all day, morning, or afternoon.

Gold ($2,500 +)
  • Name listed on Service Day e-blast
  • Recognition of sponsorship at Service Day
  • Name listed on Chapter website event announcement
  • Recognition of sponsorship within post-event summary e-mail
Silver ($1,000 – $2,499)
  • Recognition of sponsorship at Service Day
  • Name listed on Chapter website event announcement
  • Recognition of sponsorship within post-event summary e-mail
Bronze ($1 – $999)
  • Recognition of sponsorship at Service Day
  • Recognition of sponsorship within post-event summary e-mail

Click here to download the Sponsorship Opportunities form. Please e-mail your completed forms to: Michael Davis @ mdavis@bassettiarch.com


2020 Pacific Northwest Regional Conference

Heroes Within Us November 19-22, 2020
Heroes Within Us
The Nines
525 Southwest Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97204
Click here for more information and to register for the conference.

Call for Heroes!

The Heroes within us theme of the PNW 2020 conference will highlight regional Hero stories from each Chapter. We invite you to submit individuals or groups who have done something extraordinary and made a difference in improving places where children learn. We are looking for Heroes in our schools, students, teachers, administrators, board members, parents, community members, AEC professionals, trades and product representatives. The 2020 conference will celebrate the advancement of education by the effort of many diverse people. Heroes will be featured on the web site and at the conference with social media and displays.

Click here to submit your Hero Today!

Thank you to our 2018-2019 Sponsors


AHBL BCE Coughlin Porter DLR Group
Hargis Hutteball Oremus McGranahan NAC


integrus mahlum Mohawk Group

Magna Cum Laude

bassetti BLRB BNBuilders DeaMor
LPD TCF Architecture SMS WCG
OAC EDU Beresford

Dean's List

BCRA Dykeman Greenbusch Group Keithly Barber

Honor Roll

A3 Acoustics AESI DIRTT ehsi
Great Floors McKinistry Orange Thread patcraft
Robinson Co. Sazan Turner



Call for Tours 2020-2021

Eastern and Western Washington

The Washington Chapter is soliciting nominations of projects in both Eastern and Western Washington to tour. While our focus is K-12 schools, we're also very interested in receiving submissions for other learning environments that are inspirational and may potentially influence the approach to K-12 school design.

These tours precede our Chapter Dinner Meetings and are an essential part of our annual activities. The potential tour dates are typically on Wednesdays or Thursdays, with dates to be determined. Virtual tours are also acceptable.

For the month of September we have pre-selected the tour location which is a carryover from last years' submissions.

  • October 2020
  • November 2020
  • January 2021
  • March 2021
  • May 2021
  • September 2021
  • Eastern Washington Tour (date TBD)

Final selection of the tours will be completed by the Board at our August Board meeting.

Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, 2020

Submit your tour

COVID-19 & Reopening Schools

Reopening Schools: Focusing on the Physical Environment »
A digital collection of resources to assist in your planning efforts to return to school

Lincoln High School Video

View the recorded tour on January 23.

TAC Representatives Approved by the Board!

The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) Washington Chapter is recognized as a valuable stakeholder and partner to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and has been invited to have representatives sit on the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).  A4LE has had representatives from both Western and Eastern Washington on TAC for several decades and we have identified two new representatives from our Chapter to be our representatives for this committee. TAC meets quarterly with meetings typically occurring in Fife.  

The primary function of the TAC is to provide technical assistance and advice to OSPI, which includes the following responsibilities:
  • Promote cost effective planning, design, and construction of public schools in order to achieve reduced maintenance and operation costs.
  • Provide expertise and advice on technical matters related to the construction, modification, and maintenance of school facilities throughout the state.
  • Facilitate communication between OSPI and professional organizations on technical issues.
  • Represent field conditions and school districts.
  • Recommend changes to enhance and improve service to school districts.

Find out more about TAC.

Please welcome Dr. Mark Andersen from Spokane Public Schools Capital Projects to represent Eastern Washington, and Noah Greenberg, AIA from Seattle Public Schools, representing Western Washington.

2020-2021 Events

April 1, 2020 – POSTPONED
Western Washington Bus Tour
– Klahowya Secondary School
– Central Kitsap Middle School
– Olympic High School
– Blakely Elementary

April 8, 2020 – POSTPONED
Eastern Washington Bus Tour
– North Pines Middle School
– Shiloh Hills Elementary School
– Linwood Elementary School
– North Central High School

April 18, 2020 – POSTPONED
Service Day at Tillicum Elementary School
8514 Maple St SW, Lakewood, WA 98498

May 20, 2020 – POSTPONED
3:00 – 4:00 pm
Margaret Mead Elementary School
1725 216th Ave NE, Sammamish, WA 98074
Lake Washington School District
Architect: BLRB Architects
Contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis

4:30 – 5:30 pm
Peter Kirk Elementary School
1312 6th St., Kirkland, WA 98033
Lake Washington School District
Architect: Studio Meng Strazzara Architects
Contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis

September 23, 2020
Tour & Dinner Meeting
Fir Grove Puyallup SD

November 4-6, 2020
LearningSCAPES 2020 Virtual Conference
Passport to Learning

November 19-22, 2020
Pacific Northwest Regional Conference
Portland, OR

February 2021
Dessie Evans Puyallup (rescheduled from March 2020)

June 21-23, 2021
Washington Chapter Conference
Wenatchee Convention Center
Wenatchee, WA

2019 Awards

Polished Apple Award Winner:
Pathfinder Kindergarten Center, Everett, WA
DLR Group

Pathfinder Kindergarten Center

View All Winners & Entries »
Become a Member


ALEP / Certificate Programs


Comprehensive industry education: ALEP, Advanced Academy and Vibrant Learning Environments


LEsolutions Online Awards


Visit our showcase of past online entry submissions


LearningSCAPES 2020


November 4-6, 2020
Virtual Conference