Orting Middle School is located at the base of the foothills of Mt. Rainier. With the mountain as such a prominent feature in the landscape, it became a signature element in the design. The radiating floor plan is inspired by the shape formed from the confluence of river systems that drain from Mt. Rainier’s primary glaciers: Carbon, Puyallup, Tahoma, Nisqually and Cowlitz. Each wing is designed to maximize exposure to daylight and fresh air.
Between the classroom wings are two courtyards that contain rain gardens and a storm pond. All of the science classrooms have views of these courtyards to take advantage of site-specific learning opportunities. Large windows were added in the commons, library, administration area, and art room to take advantage of the mountain view.