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Thank you to the teachers, families and community members
who have provided feedback over the last few weeks, and to those who we got a
chance to talk with during months of design advisory committee meetings, meetings with
staff, the different school and community events, neighborhood council updates,
this week’s open house or the many recent small group meeting
Following the release of the revised Browns Point Elementary School Replacement Project design last month, we heard some excitement about the impending project's safety and technology improvements as well as adjustments since the last design, including increased classroom size, moving the library upstairs, and expanding the performance and commons areas.
We also clearly heard concerns from staff and the
community that had common themes — primarily centered around future student
capacity, proximity of special education spaces and services, and location and
configuration of the stage and music room.
In response, we worked with TCF Architecture and identified
design adjustments that addressed these primary themes without adding cost to
the project. This included:
With these alterations, we believe the added classroom
and flexible spaces address the primary themes. We are excited to move forward
on this project, and bring this community asset to reality.
The new Browns Point Elementary School building will be
built adjacent to the existing old Meeker Middle School building where the
tennis courts currently are. Download the site plan
During construction, students will continue to attend
classes in the original Browns Point Elementary School building and old Meeker
Middle School building.
Once the new school is complete and students have moved
in, the old Meeker Middle School building will be demolished and additional
The district will retain the original Browns Point
Elementary School building (including classrooms, a gym, cafeteria and stage).
With some improvements, this building could accommodate future school growth or
Tacoma’s new school buildings incorporate the district’s vision for kid-centered, flexible spaces. And it’s clearly different than the
sprawling former middle-school-sized campus that the neighborhood is used to.
We take our role in this transition seriously, and Browns Point will have an
instructional facilitator who will help mentor our teachers as they adapt to
the new spaces, the new vision and new amenities. This school-specific coaching
has won over many skeptics at our other new schools, including Washington,
Wainwright and McCarver. At Browns
Point, that work begins next year and continues when the teachers move into the
building the following year.
Browns Point Elementary School currently includes kindergarten through fifth grade. The existing facility, on 18.72 acres, consists of two buildings, the original 1952 Browns Point Elementary (23,965 square feet) and the original 1960 Meeker Middle School (50,813 square feet). The new Browns Point Elementary is designed to be approximately 59,000 square feet of innovative learning spaces. The original Browns Point Elementary School building will be retained for future use.
Construction phasing logistics
Site logistics, including plans for student drop off and pickup, will evolve over the course of the project. During construction, student drop off and pickup will remain along 51st Street Northeast.
Answers to questions from the May 18 PTA meeting (updated June 2)
Answers to questions fro the June 15 Northeast Tacoma Neighborhood Council meeting (udpated June 23)
This question has come up repeatedly over the last
several weeks. Growth and enrollment is an ongoing evaluation for Northeast
Tacoma and throughout the entire district. While Northeast Tacoma is not
expected to see significant overall growth compared to other areas of the city
and county, we do understand it will experience some growth.
Across Tacoma the target capacity for the majority of our
new elementary schools is 450 students. At Browns Point, however, we are
building for a minimum of 500.
Due to community concerns over capacity, we have done
additional analysis of demographic and enrollment data on the Browns
Point/Northeast Tacoma region. Here’s how we know the future school will have
plenty of space:
We are confident that there is plenty of space to
accommodate learning at the future Browns Point Elementary School as currently
If, by some chance, we experience higher-than-expected
growth in student enrollment in the Browns Point region, Tacoma Public Schools
has many ways of accommodating more growth.
For example, while the former Meeker Middle School campus
will be demolished, we are keeping the original Browns Point Elementary School
building for future school and community use. This part of the campus includes
additional classrooms, gym, cafeteria and stage. We can easily repurpose that
Other options include:
We will receive construction bids from contractors in
September. Based on those bids, there is the possibility of building the school
to a capacity to 550. If this additional classroom space is not included in the
current project due to cost, we have designed and permitted the project to be
able to add the classrooms in a future phase if increased enrollment requires
Below shows the enrollment breakdown of students at Browns Point Elementary School by grade and by catchment area for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school year. Numbers are as of 6/23/17.
Student count at Browns Point for 2016-17 (as of 6/23/17)
Student count at Browns Point for 2017-18 (as of 6/23/17)
Additional demographic information
Tacoma Public School demographics summary - June 5, 2017
Tacoma School District Enrollment Trends and Projections - January 2017
Northeast Tacoma student forecasting by elementary catchment area based on 2015 enrollment numbers
The district’s data analysis consultant, Flo Analytics, studies a wide range of data sources including information from city and county planners, information collected from the district’s demographer, small-area population and housing forecasts from the Puget Sound Regional Council Land Use Vision and ESRI U.S. Demographic Forecasts, and building permits by address from the PSRC Residential Building Permit summaries and Construction Monitor.
The original Browns Point Elementary School building,
including classrooms, cafeteria, gym and stage, will be retained for future
school and community use, including potential preschool needs. The building
will receive some improvements to accommodate this need.
The Browns Point Elementary School Replacement Project
uses an alternative contracting process called General Contractor/Contract
Management that brings the contractor on early in the process to work with the
architect during the design stage. This contracting method is generally used
during complex projects, such as a historical modernization or, in the case at
Browns Point Elementary, the safety considerations involved with a site that is
occupied during construction.
Next steps in this process include:
June 26 - Submit the design for permitting. The permitting process will include the two additional classrooms that might be included in this phase, or a future addition. Including these classrooms, or adding them later, would bring the building to a capacity of 550 students, which is on the higher end of the capacity range for Tacoma elementary schools.
July 7 – The contractor opens site work bids.
July/August - Board consideration of site work costs.
September - Begin site work once permitting is approved.
Late September – The contractor opens bids for building construction costs and works with the district to determine which bid alternates will be recommended for board consideration.
October – Board consideration of construction work costs and what alternates to include.
November – Building construction begins.
The final project scope, budget and recommended
alternates will be presented to the board for consideration in October.
Some underground utilities and site work will begin later this summer. The main construction work is anticipated to begin in October or November, depending on the permitting process.
Expected opening is late Fall/Winter during the 2018-19 school year.
Due to the large size of the Browns Point Elementary campus, the new school will be built adjacent to the existing buildings and students will remain in the current building during construction.
After construction is complete, the plan is to tear down the old Meeker Middle School portion of the campus. The original 1951 Browns Point Elementary School will be kept for future school and community use.
For more information, contact Facilities Communication Coordinator Alicia Lawver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to City planners, Northeast Tacoma does not have significant development capacity, and significant change is not expected in the overall density or residential building types in this area. While Pierce County is expected to experience significant population growth over the coming decades, most of the growth and associated enrollment increases are expected to occur in Tacoma's mixed use centers and suburban communities outside Tacoma.
The City of Tacoma is expected to plan for an additional 127,000 residents by 2040, which planners describe as a planning figure only and not a forecast. To accommodate that potential number, planners estimate an additional 59,000 new units for both residents and the loss of existing units due to conversion for new construction. About 80 percent of that growth is expected to be accommodated within the City's Mixed Use Centers, such as Downtown. There are no designated Mixed Use Centers in Northeast Tacoma.
Also, while Tacoma is experiencing population growth, the rate of school-age children per household has been dropping, and the rate of enrollment growth is much less than suburban centers elsewhere in Pierce County.
The new Browns Point Elementary is designed to accommodate approximately 500 students; current student enrollment is 423 with similar expected for 2017-18. If demand exceeds this amount, two classrooms that are currently project alternates could be added on if they aren't included in this phase. Also, the original Browns Point Elementary School building will be retained to address early learning and other potential needs.
Questions? Email Alicia Lawver, Facilities Communication Coordinator, at email@example.com.
In response to some concerns about the revised Browns Point Elementary School Replacement project, the Planning and Construction department worked with TCF Architects to make some adjustments to address core teacher and parent concerns around capacity, location of special education, and proximity of the music room and stage.
Key changes incorporated in this layout since May 18:
Thank you to the Northeast Tacoma community for reaching out to our Planning & Construction team, senior leadership and the school board regarding updates to the Browns Point Elementary School Replacement Project design. We are listening to your concerns, and met with the architect on Thursday to consider solutions to many of your concerns.
Major themes we are hearing include:
Regarding capacity and space location, we are currently working on a design solution that will maximize the number of classroom spaces. This effort also includes adjustments to the music room and stage space, and locating special services more closely with other support services on the first floor. We look forward to sharing the results with you and the Northeast Tacoma community.
We will also be talking with our demographer, and city and county experts, to confirm expectations about future growth and enrollment.
Upcoming outreach plans include:
Thank you again to our Northeast Tacoma community for sharing their concerns. We appreciate the passion you have for Tacoma youth, and we look forward to bringing you a new school that supports and celebrates our student-centered vision for elementary education.
We will continue to update information opportunities as they are scheduled. For questions or suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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