Federal Way Public Schools is Washington State’s most diverse school district. District leadership, the superintendent, and the board of directors had been learning collectively and implementing a strategic plan that addressed systemic challenges for their scholars. A new building for Olympic View K-8 was designed entirely during the restrictions of COVID-19 and heightened awareness of disproportionate challenges that it brought. Belonging and equity were prominent in the listening exercises the team conducted, and the design of a new building was a call to address them.
The new Olympic View K-8 is envisioned as a multicultural hub to fully meet the unique learning needs of each student and to support their families. A Community Pavilion that includes the family liaison, counselors, library, and a discovery lab is placed at the front of the school to make access to resources more equitable. The playground is reimagined as a park, delivering immersive outdoor learning during the day while providing neighborhood amenities for community use after hours. Personalized learning features in the design provide opportunities for self-expression, reflection, and representation for a population with 86% students of color.
Biophilic design advances the district’s sustainability goals with special attention given to scholar and teacher wellbeing. Tucked into a northwest neighborhood rich with mature evergreens, nature is brought inside with natural finishes, abundant daylight, and an olive tree at the center of the Pavilion.