Arbor Heights

Recent Updates

Arbor Heights Main Entrance

Address: 3701 SW 104 St, Seattle,


The previously existing school buildings, built in 1949 with additions in 1950, 1953 and 1958, were demolished. The replacement school, designed to support best learning practices for elementary education, opened in 2016. This project was recognized as the 2017 Grand Prize from Learning by Design.


$42.6 million

Project Description

Arbor Heights School is a 90,000-square-foot, elementary school designed to accommodate up to 660 students — nearly doubling the capacity of the 1940’s era facility it replaced. The school is designed to foster connections between the students, the community and the natural environment and provides a pioneering Environmental Science Technology Engineering Math (E-STEM) program. A rigorous design process included a 16-person School Design Advisory Team (SDAT), with representatives from the school, parents and neighbors.

The site incorporates a wide variety of features that encourage physical activity, casual and structured play, social interaction, and outdoor learning. These include: a grass playfield, a paved running track, a covered play area, raised bed planters, a sundial, an in-ground slide, educational signage, nature engagement areas, and outdoor classrooms.

Construction Methods

The building was constructed using concrete spread footings and stem walls, a structural steel frame and light gage metal stud walls for future flexibility, masonry veneer and fiber cement rain screen cladding, fiberglass windows and a built-up roofing system. Interior finishes include acoustical ceiling tile, painted gypsum wallboard, medium density fiberboard wainscot, built-in casework and carpet, resilient tile and ceramic tile flooring.

Sustainable Features

Sustainability is embedded in the design and used as building-based learning examples. Energy monitoring displays and the sustainable features of the building will be used to create awareness and learning opportunities for students.

  • Simple, energy-efficient building forms;
  • Windows oriented for optimum solar exposure and views;
  • Sun shades to control daylight;
  • South-facing roofs for future solar panels;
  • Natural cooling and user-controlled ceiling fans; and
  • LED lighting with automatic sensor controls.

Stormwater management includes rain gardens, rainwater catchers, exposed rainwater discharge, and above-ground cisterns.

Building Design: Bassetti Architects
Construction: Bayley Construction 
Construction Management: Heery International

Schedule Overview

Design work start: Spring 2013

Phase I construction start: Summer 2014

Phase II construction start: Spring 2015

School Opened Fall 2016

Back to BEX IV