Environmental Learning Center at SAMi

Environmental Learning Center at SAMi

ELC Sami

Environmental Learning Center at SAMi Construction Updates

Owls and starfish and robots – oh my! Wildlife and robotics made the perfect combo to show what goes on in the new Environmental Learning Center, the building next to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that serves as a home base for SAMi students and zoo staff. On Jan. 27, people from across Tacoma celebrated the building and the partnership between Tacoma Public Schools and Metro Parks Tacoma that helped make it happen. 

Read More about If you missed the January grand opening event . . .

Steve Murakami from Tacoma Public Schools talks about the plans for the new facilities for the Science and Math Institute. Working with Metro Parks Tacoma, TPS contracted Tacoma's McGranahan Architects to plan the building. Designer Michael McGavock explains the philosophy behind how SOTA and SAMi are embedded within a community like Tacoma. Curtis Hancock from Metro Parks shows how project based learning will be highlighted in these new spaces, which are being incorporated into Metro Parks' master plan for construction at Point Defiance Park.

Read More about Tacoma plans new facility for Science and Math Institute


The innovative Environmental Learning Center at the Science and Math Institute features eight classrooms (including two science labs), administrative space, an early learning center, and space for Point Defiance Zoo staff and volunteers. This project is a partnership between Tacoma Public Schools and Metro Parks Tacoma. 

Square footage: 30,100
Total projected cost: $19.7 million 
 Open date: Oct. 2, 2017
Architect: McGranahan Architects
Contractor: Forma Construction

This project is funded by the $500 million school construction bond voters approved in 2013.