Five things to know about Downing’s construction plans

1.      Contractors set up construction trailers and safety fencing on site

Korsmo Construction, the general contractor for the new Downing Elementary School, will set up trailers and safety fencing on site March 22. Soon after, crews will work at the site from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For safety, they will limit construction traffic during the beginning and end of the school day. Summer hours may occasionally extend to 5:30 p.m.

2.       Students drop off, pick up changes start March 22

Changes to student drop off and pick up will start Monday, March 22, because of how building construction will affect the parking lot.

  • Parents should continue to enter from N. 26th Street and follow N. Orchard Street on the shoulder of the road toward the front of the school.
  • Parents will drop off and pick up students at the front of the school in a “valet style,” where a staff member will greet students and usher them into the building.
  • In the afternoon, teachers will walk students to the front of the school to wait for pick up.

Student, staff and driver safety is a top priority in making these changes. The changes will improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion on N. 26th Street. Staff and signage will help people understand the changes.

Downing dropoff

3.      Save the dates: Downing groundbreaking and virtual neighborhood meeting

Mark your calendar to both celebrate and learn what to expect with a major construction project starting in the neighborhood.

Groundbreaking celebration on Friday, April 2, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Watch LIVE on Facebook)
Downing families, students and staff: Watch LIVE on Facebook as students from every grade break ground on their new building, marking the beginning of a new era. Students will officially break ground on our new school during this celebration. Since we can't all be together, we are running a LIVE virtual event on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. and would love for you to join us online.

To watch, go to the TPS Facebook page and click the Downing Elementary Online Groundbreaking event.

4.      Virtual neighborhood meeting on Monday, April 19, 6 – 7 p.m.

Bringing a major construction project into a neighborhood impacts its residents. Tacoma Public Schools and Korsmo Construction want to limit that impact as much as possible and make sure Downing neighbors know what to expect and when.

Please join our online meeting by going to Downing’s construction website at Downing Elementary School and clicking the JOIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING APRIL 19, 6-7 PM button to learn what’s ahead for the project. Submit your questions ahead of time to We’ll answer your questions and address:

  • Schedule overview
  • Noise
  • Parking and road closures
  • Truck routes
  • Work hours for construction crews

5.      Exciting new partnership with Boys & Girls Club Gonyea Branch

The Tacoma School Board recently approved the purchase of the D.A. Gonyea Branch of the Boys & Girls Club site next to Downing.

When construction is complete, and the school opens, the intent is to reopen Boys and Girls Club programs at this location. Boys and Girls Club will have dedicated program spaces, including a teen center, and access to shared spaces like the gymnasium and kitchen in the new facility.

The vision is to create environments where students are continuously challenged, supported and engaged in a way that is safe and healthy—before, during and after school.

Read Boys and Girls Club’s story on the club website at D.A. Gonyea (

Downing Boys Girls Club

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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