Highland Middle School is in the planning and design phase for its new building with the project scheduled to begin in the summer of 2018.

“The whole school is built around the idea of inclusion and shared learning spaces somewhat modeled after Sammamish High School,” Klug said.

A team of about a dozen staff members have been working with McGranahan Architects on the design process thus far. The building will be approximately 170,000 square feet.

“I love how the design captures the unique diversity of our school community,” Highland teacher Beth Born said. “All are welcome, no one is left behind, and we each have a story and calling that contributes to the community as a whole.”

The school will be built in a similar layout style as the district’s other recent projects with the public spaces like the commons, library, gyms and administrations at the front of the building and the classroom wings further back in the building.

“We want the spaces to feel shared and community driven instead of isolated,” Klug said.

Other highlights of the new building will include an office for Jubilee Reach near the commons, integration of the Pacific Program into the main school building, and a student health clinic that will be run through a partnership with King County and International Community Health Services.

“People who see it say it’s beautiful,” Klug said of the designs.

Presently the architects are continuing to refine the plans and the team is discussing materials and details for the interior of the building. The district is also working its way through the permitting process.

“It takes a lot of work, planning, and team effort to get the process started and to stay on course,” Born said.

The team intends to keep pieces of the original building to incorporate them into the design. Discussions are ongoing about turning parts of the school into art pieces like wood from the gym and etching the words from the ‘Ultimate Goal’ wall above the entrance to the new school as the wall itself won’t be able to be saved.

“I enjoy the design process, so to be in on this from the beginning was intriguing,” said Highland art teacher Justin Petersen who is a part of the design team. “(The new building) is built for growth, which is an exciting thing.”

The main school building, originally known as Highland Junior High, opened in 1957. The brick building on campus, which was formerly known as Highland School opened in 1935. During the planning process it was determined that the brick building would also be demolished due to the age and condition of the building as well as prohibitive costs to bring the building up to modern code standards. The plans call for the WPA plaque set as the cornerstone of the building will be saved and be on display in the new building.

Klug said that the Highland community is eagerly looking forward to having its new building.

“This school is the central location for many services for families in this community,” Klug said. “They deserve a really beautiful building.”

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.