Wainwright Intermediate School

News and updates

Wainwright Intermediate School is now open

The new Wainwright Intermediate School opened to staff and students on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

News release (12/2/2016): New Wainwright Intermediate School 'a complete departure from the traditional'

The News Tribune (12/5/2016): It's finally here: After monthslong delay, Wainwright Intermediate School debuts in Fircrest

​About this project

Based on family and community feedback, Tacoma Public Schools replaces the former Wainwright Elementary School with an intermediate school that will eventually house fourth through eighth-graders. The new Wainwright Intermediate School will pair with nearby Whittier Elementary, which shifts to a preschool through third-grade school. The two schools are run by one principal and two assistant principals, and act in many ways as one school community operating on two campuses.

Project features: 

  • A DaVinci learning space that will allow teachers to lead students in sometimes messy lessons of exploration and innovation that require space and resources not available in a standard classroom.
  • The forested site has been maintained for student and community use, as well as picnic and play areas for kids and the Fircrest community. 
  • Bus and parent drop off area are designed to reduce congestion on Alameda and 19th streets. 

Project statistics:

Square footage: 65,000
Student capacity: 450
Total projected cost: $35,147,605 (1/20/17)
Percent complete: 98% (1/20/17)
Open date: Dec. 5, 2016
Architect: DLR Group
Contractor: Neeley Construction​​

Wainwright Walkthrough

Take a look at this video slideshow of the new Wainwright Intermediate School.

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Wainwright remains on track to open to students no later than Jan. 3. The academic areas of Wainwright are mostly complete and the school district is working closely with Neeley Construction and the City of Fircrest to determine an official occupancy and open date. Part of the district's acceleration efforts mean a phased transition process that allows the contractor to complete final details while the district begins to test equipment, move in furniture and technology, and work through the final logistics before opening the building to staff and students.

To get the lastest move-in news and photos, sign up for e-newsletters about Wainwright construction.

IN THE NEWS: Classroom furniture moves in, bleachers installed

Crews unloaded movable tables, chairs, shelves andmore into the classroom wing at Wainwright Intermediate School on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Meanwhile the gym bleachers went from pieces and boxes to completely installed. Testing of the heating system begins soon, and technology is expected to begin installation the week of Nov. 7.

Wainwright students will begin school year at Whittier Elementary

Wainwright fourth, fifth and sixth graders will begin the 2016-17 school year at Whittier Elementary. To accommodate the temporary influx of students, the district has upgraded the lower level play space and created temporary classrooms. Wainwright students will move in to their new building no later than Jan. 3, 2017.

Upgrades in the lower level area at Whittier include adding new lighting, an HVAC system, new windows, carpeting, lockers, moveable partitions and new classroom furniture and technology. The restrooms, entry door and other areas also received upgrades.

After the transition to Wainwright is complete, Whittier will be a PreK-3 elementary school and Wainwright will eventually add seventh and eighth grades as next year's students advance.

Progress update 5/20/16 - Upgrades to Whittier lower level underway to make temporary space for Fall 2016

As part of the plan to house Wainwright Intermediate fourth, fifth and sixth-graders at Whittier Elementary for the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, Tacoma Public Schools is making several improvements to the lower-level play area to create five classroom spaces, including:

  • Increased lighting
  • Improved air flow
  • ADA accessibility upgrades to the restroom and entryway
  • Carpeting
  • Moveable partitions and modernized furnishings
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Security upgrades
Background: Construction of Wainwright Intermediate School was moved up a year from originally plans, but due to a record wet winter combined with a supply and labor shortage, the new Wainwright building will not be ready for the start of the 2016-17 school year. In the interim, students will be housed at Whittier. Adjustments are being made to the schedule, grounds and facilities to accommodate the temporary increase in students and staff and facilitate as smooth a transition as possible. The new building is expected to be open to students no later than Jan. 3, 2017.
FAQ based on questions from community meetings​ (updated 5/18 to clarify opt-in enrollment question)

Whittier/Wainwright transition plan key facts as of 4/12/16

Questions? Please email planning@tacoma.k12.wa.us if you have questions about Wainwright construction or the transition plan. Updates will be posted here as they are available. 

Determination of Non-Significance
Traffic Impact Analysis 
Wainwright/Whittier community survey results    ​​​​​​

​Take a Virtual Tour of the Wainwright Design
Watch as the virtual tour takes you through the interior and exterior of the new school design. The new school is scheduled to open at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.