Stewart MS - Part of Tacoma's record building boom

11/3/2015 | TACOMA, Washington

Tacoma Public Schools launched a building boom following voter approval of a $500 million construction bond in 2013. With five schools under construction and three more in design phase, Tacoma has the most capital projects taking place in school district history.Sized460_Exterior-Entry_Large.jpg

On the list of major projects is the modernization of the historic Stewart Middle School​. Demolition crews have crunched and cleared the school’s auxiliary gym and classroom addition. Demolition of the 1970’s structure made space for a new gymnasium and student courtyard at the southwest corner of the historic 1924-era building.

Interior demolition of the main building has begun. The main building, which has historical designations from both from the city of Tacoma and Washington state, is being preserved in a $62 million project. This is the first significant renovation in the building’s history.

Sized460_Exterior-Entry_Large.jpgPreservation measures include repairing brick, replacing windows and installing seismic bracing. The project will also address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues to provide accessibility for all students.

The walls and ceiling of the school’s existing central auditorium will be preserved and the floor will be leveled to accommodate cafeteria use. Telescoping seating will provide tiered seating in upholstered chairs for 350 theater or music patrons.

Generally, the design will allow for a modern educational experience with sensitivity to the historic character of the entire facility.Sized460_Theater-Interior_websafe.jpg

Outside, new driveways will separate buses, parent drop-off, service vehicles and pedestrians to enhance safety and ease of movement.

The former building housed 532 students in sixth through eighth grade. The newly modernized school is designed to house 650 students in a 120,000-square-foot, three-story configuration.

Other projects on the horizon:
  • ​The Science and Math Institute (SAMI) at Point Defiance Park Early Learning Center will see construction of a new building start after the first of the year.
  • Three elementary schools are in the planning phases: Arlington is in the design phase, and architect selection is underway for Lyon and Browns Point schools.
Find more construction developments at

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