Olympic Hills

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OHES entrance ohes

Address: 13018 20th Avenue NE


Olympic Hills was opened in 1954, shortly after the area was annexed by the City of Seattle. The school has been replaced with new elementary building on same site. As a neighborhood school, Olympic Hills has a wonderfully rich and diverse population of students, representing 30 different countries and 18 different languages. The school community works together to help all members embrace and value the worth, dignity and diversity of people.


$41.9 million

Project Description

The existing 34,000-square-foot building and associated portable classrooms were demolished to make way for a new 90,000 square-foot school with capacity for 660 students. The project helps address current and projected elementary enrollment growth in northeast Seattle.

The new Olympic Hills Elementary School includes classrooms, a library, a student commons/ dining area, a gymnasium, art and music facilities, computer labs, and administrative and support areas. Three classrooms with an adjacent dedicated play area provide space for Head Start and the Seattle Preschool Program. The existing athletic field in the northeast corner of the site was rebuilt to accommodate two youth soccer fields and continued community access. 

Energy efficiency has been achieved throughout by orienting classrooms for optimal daylight, thermally efficient windows, LED lighting fixtures, and a low-maintenance ground-source heating system. 

The school design includes a dedicated professional development space next to the library for adult learning. The visibility and existence of the space emphasizes that adults are expected to learn as much as students in order for the school to have a culture of learning. 

A commitment to differentiated instruction means teaching students at the level of their abilities. In support, all of the classroom furniture is configured for small groups. A lesson may begin with whole group instruction, but students then break into groups to work at varying ability levels while the teacher confers with individual students and leads small groups. 

Each grade-level pod is centered around a learning commons, which is designed to support students leading their own learning or working with adults in small groups. To allow adequate supervision, large window walls provide a clear sight line to the learning commons. Classrooms for special education are integrated within each of the classroom wings to provide equitable access to the variety of available spaces and amenities.

Construction Methods

The new building is constructed with masonry veneer and fiber cement board exterior walls, aluminum-framed window walls, and membrane roofing on structures supported by wood framing.

Sustainable Features

Energy efficiency is achieved through optimum daylighting, thermally efficient windows, LED lighting fixtures and a low-maintenance ground-source heating system.

Architect: McGranahan Architects, Inc.

Construction Management Firm: Shiels Obletz Johnsen (SOJ), Inc.

Contractor: Cornerstone General Contractors, Inc

Civil engineer: LPD Engineering

Structural engineer: PCS Structural Solutions

Mechanical and electrical engineer: Hargis Engineering

Schedule Overview

Construction began: Summer 2015

School opened: Fall 2017

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