Experience modernized Stewart Middle School during May 24 grand opening

5/22/2017 | TACOMA, Washington

Please RSVP

Celebrate the historic modernization of Stewart Middle School on Wednesday, May 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A short ceremony begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by self-guided tours and a showcase of life at Stewart in 2017.

Event highlights include helping create a mural with the Tacoma Art Museum, a chance to talk to the project architect and contractor, a showcase by the robotics team, broadcast students capturing alumni stories, spoken word performances, the Stewart drum line, and more.

Built in 1924, Stewart reopens after the first significant renovation in its history. The new interior provides spaces for a modern educational program while maintaining the historic building’s exterior. One of the most noticeable changes includes the transformation of the school’s auditorium by leveling the original sloping floor and installing telescoping theater seats to create a commons area that serves as both a student dining area and performance space.

Stewart is one of 14 major school modernization and replacement projects made possible by a $500 million Tacoma Public Schools construction bond passed by voters in 2013. The City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission honored Tacoma Public Schools last weekend for its commitment to preservation, including recent historic renovations of Washington Elementary School, McCarver Elementary School and Stewart Middle School.

About the Stewart Middle School Modernization Project

The newly modernized school demonstrates a blend of innovative, flexible spaces and the latest technology and furniture while maintaining its historic essence, including historically appropriate window replacement.

Goals for the Stewart Middle School Modernization Project included:

  • Modernize the historic building to support the needs of 21st-century learners.
  • Provide a strong sense of welcoming visitors and students and making it easy to get around the building.
  • Create safe outdoor spaces for students before and after school.
  • Create a unified school, connecting all three levels.
  • Support many learning styles by creating spaces to think, create, discover, impart and exchange.

The architects accomplished the goals through the following elements:

  • The former exterior light wells transformed into light-filled central project labs surrounded by glass to allow passersby to see the learning inside.
  • A central staircase connects all three floors and gives students and guests a visible, easy way to move through the levels.
  • In the commons, the historic former auditorium now serves as the heart of the campus with a flexible student commons and performance space.
  • The library looks into the balcony overlooking the commons, creating an informal setting for exchanging ideas and thinking.
  • Flex areas connect groups of classrooms around a space for student or teacher collaboration.
  • The outdoor plaza overlooks the track and field, creating a sunny, safe place for students to play and socialize before, during and after school.