Fern Hill Elementary School


8442 S. Park Ave., Tacoma, WA 98444

The old Fern Hill Elementary School building was opened in 1911 at a cost of just $13,944. Almost 100 years and five remodels later, the second oldest school in Tacoma received a major makeover, thanks to the passage of the 2001 bond.

The design concept of the school was to reuse and upgrade the historic, three-story building while expanding it to add new facilities to help increase student learning. As with any project on a building as old as Fern Hill, the architects and contractors took great care to ensure the new façade reflected the historical look and feel of the original structure.

The new-and-improved main building remained the home of the first through fifth grade classrooms. Meanwhile, two new additions were placed on either side of the original structure. The additions house the administration offices, kindergarten, special education and gymnasium.

Also included in the building was a new bell tower to provide visibility for the historic bell, which has been with the school since 1888.

Construction was completed in September 2006.


  • Outstanding Buildings: Historic Renovation/Addition for 2007 from American School & University magazines 25th Annual Architectural Portfolio
  • Citation Honoree for 2008 from AASA (American Association of School Administrators)/AIA (American Institute of Architects)/CEFPI (Council of Eduational Facilities Planners International)
  • Excellence in Masonry Design for 2008 from Masonry Institute of Washington
  • Plaque of Honor: One of the Top Projects in Washington/Oregon for 2008 from Real Estate & Construction Review
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation for 2011 from City ofTacoma and the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission

 Project Stats

​Bond issue: 2001
Square footage:​ ​57,510
Area:​ 3.96 acres
​Capacity: 850
​Cost: ​$25,488,897
​Scope: ​Add two new additions and update the original building
​Project supervisor: Ernie Eugenio, Tacoma Public Schools
Completion date:​ September 2006
​Architect: ​BLRB Architects
​Contractor: Scott Babbit, Babbit Neuman Construction Company