Birney Elementary School

Pre-K/Elementary School

The one-story Birney Elementary School is located on the southwest portion of the 8.68-acre property. The school building houses Pre-K through 5th grades, including the regional deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) program. It is approximately 60,000 SF in area with a capacity of 550 students.

Site improvements included upgrading the existing vehicular circulation by separating parent and bus loading locations. Outdoor play areas are located on the north end of the property and consist of hard surface play areas, a repurposed covered play structure, soft surface play with play equipment, and playfields. New site amenities include pedestrian plazas, play equipment, seat walls, playfield, bicycle parking, and landscaping, and are designed to fit the context of the existing neighborhood.

Birney Elementary School was designed to enhance the existing DHH program and be a community resource. The building is organized by a north-south circulation space, named the Marketplace, containing the public amenities of the school and specialized learning opportunities. Four classroom wings tie into the Marketplace and create small exterior courtyard areas that provide opportunities for outdoor learning.

The building’s infrastructure and systems are designed with energy efficiency as a priority. The design team used the framework established by the AIA 2030 energy challenge as a goal for the project. This program has been established such that all new buildings shall be carbon neutral by 2030. The site-specific goal for the project is an EUI (Energy Use Index) of 22.5, the Design Development design is modeled at an EUI of 23.5.

Explore how we engaged with the school stakeholders and community

Client: Tacoma Public Schools

Location: Tacoma, WA

Size: 60,000 SF