A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11 AM on Thursday, September 1st at the new Thornton Creek School building at 7712 40th Ave NE, and the building will be open to the public for tours that day. The ceremony and tour meeting point at 11 AM is at the main front door of the new building, located in the drive-up facing 40th Ave NE.
Since passage of the Capital Projects Levy in February 2013, planning, designing and building have now come to completion at the new Thornton Creek School. The design of the building supports the Thornton Creek School learning environment which engages students through exploration and discovery. The program is called expeditionary learning through projects and cooperative work in small groups and across grade levels. To support small-group work, the design of the building includes gathering spaces. The large Commons area, also used as the lunchroom, can host several classrooms to see and hear project presentations.
Thornton Creek will have an enrollment of 465 students in the 2016-2017 school year in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, with most grades having four classrooms, and additional students in two preschool classrooms. There is capacity for the school to grow to 660 students.
Access and traffic patterns:
The front door to the new school building faces 40th Ave NE, a few feet north of the corner of NE 77th Street. There is a drive-up and a canopied main entrance. The drive-up will be used by special education buses and can also be used by parents when visiting the school. An additional parking lot is located at the northeast corner of the block at NE 80th Street and 43rd Ave NE.
Morning arrival of students is to be divided with lower grades entering the school building at the corner of NE 77th, and upper grades from the NE 80th Street side.
Access and security:
Doors to the school will lock automatically when the school day begins. After that time visitors to the building must come in through the main entrance foyer and check in with the front office personnel.
The new building has a geothermal system with heat pumps and use of LED light fixtures with “smart” lighting controls which will dim when no one is in the room or when natural light is sufficient. Each classroom has an exterior wall of windows and on the interior side along the hallway, there are windows which help let in light.
Classroom and common space design:
Between each classroom there is an alcove for project work and breakout into small groups. Teachers can see and supervise students at all times because of the glass-partitioned rooms. For large-group meetings of multiple classrooms, the core facilities of the dining commons, the library, gym and art/music rooms can be used.
In the expeditionary learning model, students typically do presentations to communicate what they have learned. A presentation might be a written or visual report, or could include writing and presenting a play about the subject they have studied, or by doing a painting or other arts such as music. Several classrooms can gather in the Commons to hear presentations.
Exterior site development:
The school playfields have been restored with pre-germinated grass so that the fields are ready for use now. There is a walking track, playground, covered play structure, and a garden with raised planter beds. A rain garden on the NE 77th Street side is part of the landscaping and new sidewalks have been put in along NE 77th and 80th Streets. Curb cuts and bike lane markings have been put in on 40th Ave NE at the corners of NE 77th and 80th Streets and there will be flashing crosswalk lights. Students are encouraged to walk or bike to school via the Greenway on 39th Avenue NE, and a sidewalk has been installed on NE 77th Street between 39th to 40th Avenues NE to aid pedestrians.