Thornton Creek School (to house Thornton Creek K-5)

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Thornton Creek Main Entrance

7712 40th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98115


An additional school building was constructed on the site of the existing Stephen Decatur school. Thornton Creek Elementary, which was previously housed in the Decatur building, moved to the new building.


$42.8 million

Project Description

This new building is co-located on with the Decatur Elementary School and was constructed to house Thornton Creek Elementary. The existing school building was preserved to address future elementary growth.

Design elements blend the two schools to create a cohesive campus and include natural turf ballfields and walking track, covered play structures, playground, an outdoor learning area with raised planter beds and a rain garden.

Thornton Creek Elementary is expeditionary learning school with a looping grade system that creates distinct learning communities by keeping students with the same teacher and classmates for two grade levels. The building is designed create learning communities of classrooms integrated with open shared-learning spaces. The student dining commons is divided into two areas to provide differently scaled eating and socializing experiences.

Construction Methods

The building was constructed using concrete spread footings and stem walls, structural steel and light gage metal stud walls for future adaptability, masonry veneer and fiber cement rainscreen cladding, fiberglass windows, aluminum storefront and curtain wall glazing, and a built-up roofing system. Site development included natural turf ball fields, hard and soft play areas with play equipment, landscaping and new curbs and sidewalks around portions of the site.

Sustainable Features

Energy efficiency is achieved through daylighting, high performance windows with low-e coatings, a geothermal heating system and the use of LED light fixtures with occupancy controls.

Building Design: Mahlum Architects, Inc.
Construction Management: Heery International, Inc.
Contractor: Forma Construction Company

Schedule Overview

Construction began: Summer 2015

School opened: Fall 2016

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