The design for Thompson Elementary School, which was selected to be one of the pilot schools for the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol (WSSP), focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency throughout the facility. Sustainable aspects of the school include: preserving natural vegetation on site, a ground source heat pump system, lightshelves, artificial lighting controls, and use of sustainably produced materials and products.
Spacious classrooms with high ceilings and well organized casework help to maximize floor and wall surface area. Lightshelves also provide enhanced daylight quality into teaching spaces. The library is showcased by its central location – providing easy access for community use – as well as its formal expression on the school’s exterior. Another distinctive feature of the design is hallway alcoves, which create space for reading niches and small group teaching spaces.
Thompson Elementary School was the first of two schools on the site to be replaced – the second being Spanaway Junior High School. Master planning and phasing were particularly important for these projects, since both schools remained fully operational during construction.