Geiger Montessori

7401 S. 8th St., Tacoma, WA 98465

Geiger Montessori opened September 2012

Geiger started with the story of the site. As it descends from east to west, the site opens upon territorial views of the Narrows and Puget Sound. With the orca as their mascot, the nearby marine environment is a constant reminder that our actions have an effect on the neighboring ecosystem.

​Geiger started with the story of the site.  As it descends from east to west, the site opens upon territorial views of the Narrows and Puget Sound.  With the orca as their mascot, the nearby marine environment is a constant reminder that our actions have an effect on the neighboring ecosystem.

Inside the facility, graphics derived from mathematical manipulatives inform the wainscot and railing patterns, and similar derivations are incorporated throughtout as a tribute to Montessori prinipals and lessons.  Marine themes are used throughout the classroom wings to build individual identities for the six classroom pods, with each classroom having its own marine mascot.

Project-based learning is the basis of Montessori education, and is a model for classroom activity that shifts away from teacher-centered delivery to student-centered exploration.  This instructional approach is built upon authentic learning that engages the student in relevant exercises at their pace, and from a multitude of vantage points.

In the Montessori configuration, you will find kindergartners, first graders and second graders working alongside each other in four grade-level "houses."  Students have the opportunity to see and work with older and younger students, giving each the chance to be the student, the partner, or the"guide".

The classrooms are zoned various uses.  The entry corners are developed into large wet areas for practical life excercises, often taking up to one-fourth of the classroom.  The rest of the floor area is divided into shelving areas to house the large library of manipulatives.  Students define their space by placing a small rug on the floor and working from there.

Montessori teaching is dedicated to keeping learning relevant and useful to students by establishing connections to life out-side the four walls of the classroom, and solving real-world concerns with real-world skills.  This approach offers wide scope development of the whole person, and reinforces the skill set required by the 21st-century learner: critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

The well-rounded learning opportunities afforded by the montessori approach have been traditionally confined to private schools.  With the completion of the new Geiger Montessori School, Tacoma Public Schools now has two Montessori Schools, taking this method to the masses, offering student-centered, personalized educational opportunities for public school students.

 Awards

  • ​2013 Polished Apple Award - Merit Award Winner from the CEFPI WA/MT Chapter Conference (juror comments)
  • 2013 Polished Apple Award - People's Choice Award Winner from the CEFPI WA/MT Chapter Conference
  • 2013 Edwin F. Guth Memorial Award for Interior Lighting Design from the Illuminating Engineering Society Puget Sound (IES) Chapter.

 Sustainable Features

  • The orientation of the School maximizes exposure and views
  • Every classroom has abundant natural light
  • Exterior shading devices are employed to reduce heat gain and glare
  • Increased insulation rating provies a high efficiency building enclosure
  • ENEGRY STAR rated roofing reflects heat to minimize heat gain
  • A cistern harvests rain water which is used to water student gardens
  • Rain gardens are used to filter water run-off
  • Materials with recycled content utilized throughout construction
  • Low-VOC furniture and finished were selected to reduce off-gassing
  • Drought tolerant plants are used throughout the site
  • Geiger is equipped with the latest, highly efficient ventilation and heating technologies

 Project Stats

​Bond issue: 2001
Square footage:​ ​67,823
Area:​ ​7.22 acres
​Capacity: ​550
​Cost: ​$21,000,000
​Scope: ​New construction; demolish old school
​Project supervisor: Ernie Eugenio, Tacoma Public Schools
Completion date:​ ​October 2012
​Architect: Hutteball & Oremus Architecture
​Contractor: ​Berschauer Phillips Construction Company