Discovery Middle School

  • LOCATION: Vancouver, WA
  • COMPLETED: 1996


Discovery Middle School is an excellent example of a project that benefited greatly from LSW’s symposium process.  Design work began with a two-day planning symposium with more than 60 students, parents, educators, architects, business partners, city planners, and other community members.  A steeply sloped and forested site created challenges that LSW worked with the community and school to overcome, resulting in a 125,000 sq. ft. facility that is depressed one level below grade to reduce impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood.

The school has many unique design attributes that support program goals.  Resulting from the symposium, classrooms are structured as “villages”; each level of the school is its own village of classrooms, flex spaces, and co-operative learning areas that accommodate project-oriented, theme-based activities.

Other unique features of the school are the Loft, the Tool Box, a gallery for display of student artwork, a community center, and a wellness center that promotes lifetime health and fitness.  In the Loft, students can congregate for quiet reading while enjoying spectacular outdoor views. The Tool Box is a hands-on lab space, divided into five zones:  a research center, wet/dry lab, art design, technology education, and fabrication. Outside access from the Tool Box is available for environmental studies.