In the coming year the planning for a new Bennett Elementary building will move from conceptual design ideas and the educational specifications document into a schematic design. The school is scheduled to be torn down and rebuilt during the 2016-17 school year, with students and staff moving into the new building in the fall of 2017.

“We’re targeting the same size building as Enatai,” Kyle McLeod, one of the district’s construction project managers, said. That means the new Bennett building will be approximately 82,000 square feet.

“It’ll have the art and STEM classrooms as part of building, and include the same standard features as other buildings across the district,” McLeod explained. The new building will also have a space for early learning programs.

The conceptual design and educational specification process included collaborating with school staff to determine how the new building can best meet the needs of the student body.

“It will be a building that’s built for the future,” Bennett Principal David Staight said. “We’ll have some new configurations that will really benefit our ability to do our jobs and teach kids in more compatible ways.”

The educational specification document which was developed this spring outlines things like classroom needs and features, the spaces for different grades and programs, and desired community spaces, etc.

“We’re hoping that it functions as a community centerpiece and that people can be proud of it,” Staight said of the new building.

A design team of Bennett staff from the different grades and specialty areas, community members, and staff from the district office collaborated on the conceptual design. The team toured different school sites, both BSD and in the Lake Washington School District, to gather ideas, inspiration, and to understand what has worked well for other schools. Additionally, focus group meetings were held this spring with stakeholders and the architecture firm NAC, which is working on the project.

“We’ll spend the next year looking at the interior design and getting down to the nitty gritty details,” Staight said. “It’s exciting and there’s a lot to be done.”