|Construction Status:||Opened in September, 2009|
|Address:||34424 1st Avenue South, Federal Way, WA 98003|
Walk through the new Panther Lake Elementary on a sunny day - or even on a typically grey Northwest day - and you’ll see an abundance of something that experts say helps kids learn: natural light. From multiple small windows in exterior classroom walls to soft light filtering down to the interior walls of classrooms and corridors – Panther Lake’s rooms are aglow with the Vitamin D-enriched brain booster.
Panther Lake is an “ah-inspiring” example of the next phase of school construction in Federal Way. Not all of what makes it new and better are as apparent as the inclusion of natural light.
Children and staff in the school enjoy many aspects of the building’s features:
- Two high-efficiency boilers heat water that is then circulated through pipes in the floor, keeping everyone warm from the bottom up.
- Unlike many new buildings, paint fumes and new carpet smell aren’t present in Panther Lake. Low VOC paint was used and the rooms aired out for 2 weeks prior to occupancy.
- As required by the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, the school does not have wall-to-wall carpeting, which can contribute to asthma and upper respiratory infections among school children because of reduced air quality caused by dust accumulation and harsh chemicals used to clean the carpets. Instead, each classroom has concrete floors with radiant heat. Each room also has four six-by-six foot carpet squares to use as the teacher chooses. The carpet squares can be removed and cleaned off-site as needed.
- Classrooms measuring 900 square feet give teachers a comfortable space to provide multiple learning centers, such as a reading corner, in the room.
- Long hallways were replaced with clusters of classrooms so teachers and students can collaborate and work in teams.
- Bathroom facilities are easier to reach than in the old building.
- Located a bit further from the main road than the old building, with better insulation and a cluster floor plan, the school is both quieter and more secure than before.
- From the outside, the colorful exterior of the school brightens the neighborhood for library patrons and other neighbors, as it does for our students.
- A reader board will be installed in the spring of 2010.
- Staff and students love the small instructional areas available throughout the school. Because they are nestled in private areas, they are perfect for intervention and personal, safe and healthy contact for staff and teachers.
- Wireless carts serve as mobile technology centers and allow easy transport of computers and equipment from room to room.
- The display boards in the hallways are a hit with staff and students who enjoy rotating displayed work.
- There is additional storage in the new school.
- Recycled jeans provide insulation and soundproofing in the ceilings and are one of many ways the district practiced environmental stewardship during construction.
- The new Panther Lake has higher capacity fiber optic cabling and conduits to run wires through cleanly. The conduits will allow faster and more efficient future technology upgrades.
- Students and staff will be safer in the new building in the event of an earthquake because of additional earthquake resistance features.
Per the promise of the district, this project was on time and under budget.
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