Downing Construction FAQ

Construction is expected to run from May 2021 to July 2022, with Downing re-opening in fall 2022. Students will attend school in the existing building until the new school is complete in fall 2022. 

Q: When does construction start and end?
A: Construction begins in May and the new school opens fall of 2022.

Q: Will there be enough parking at the new school? There’s a significant amount of angled parking along N. 23rd St along the playfield. Will any parking remain along N. 23rd or will people be directed to park in the new Boys & Girls Club?
A: A significant amount of parking is included in the plans for the new Downing and Boys and Girls Club sites. This will reduce the angle parking on N. 23rd St.

Q: This area is covered under the Tacoma smelter plume. Has the soil been tested? Will the grounds be sprayed down regularly to keep dust to an absolute minimum?
A: Yes, extensive environmental testing has been conducted on the soil. The soil will be mitigated and sprayed.

Q: If I see trespassers or vandalism at the construction site, who do I call, Tacoma Police?
A: Yes. Please call 911 and report any crime on site.

Q: Will the neighbors be notified of road closures and right-of-way improvements?
A: Yes. Neighbors will be notified in advance of any right-of-way improvements or any street/lane closures throughout the project.

Q: Will the fields be available to the community/neighbors during the weekdays?
A: Yes, it’s a district standard to allow our school fields and playgrounds available to the community after school hours, both on weekdays and weekends.

Q: Will the fields be natural grass or artificial turf?
A: The plan is for the fields to be natural grass. If budget allows for turf, we will look into those options.

Q: Who do we contact about street improvement suggestions on our street?
A: This project will have significant street, sidewalk and curb improvements surrounding the school site. To request information, or submit suggestions, about street or sidewalk improvements for your neighborhood street, you can contact the City of Tacoma Traffic Engineering Department.

Q: What will happen to land where the existing Downing building is located?
A: The existing land will be grass, a slight slope and sidewalk path for community use.

Q: What kind of seismic safety measures are in place in the new design?
A: The building will be engineered with seismic upgrades that are up to current code.

Q: Will the sidewalk on N. 23rd St. offset to the north?
A: Yes, it will.

Q: Will there be any changes or upgrades to the city's current "safe routes to school" plan with the new location?
A: No major changes to the safe routes to school plan. We’ll have a new crossing across N. 26th St. and enhance the crossing at N. 25th St. across Orchard St.

Q: Any proposed improvements to Pierce Transit bus stops?
A: There are no changes to the Pierce Transit bus stops with this project.

Media Contact

Dan Voelpel, Executive Director of Communications | 253-571-1015 |

About Tacoma Schools

Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...


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