An School to Match Its Iconic Pacific Northwest Location

Washougal Public Schools

Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington designed by LSW Architects.

Overview

The new home for Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School was designed and built to fit naturally within its iconic home in the Pacific Northwest. This uniquely designed school in the Washougal School District spans 122,000 sf in a 700-foot-long building.

LSW Architects designed the Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School building within the requirements of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Key Stats

Client

Washougal School District

Square Footage

122,381

Completion

2017

Design

The squat, 700-foot-long building takes on a lodge-like aesthetic, owing to its brick and stone exterior and earth-tone colors. In keeping with the requirements of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the building blends into its setting through an abundance of vegetation, fitting naturally within the existing hillside.

The middle school replaced the original Jemtegaard Middle School and increased its capacity to 600 students. The elementary school portion of the building was expected to house 400 students, but a late infusion of state funding provided for six more classrooms and an expansion to 550 students.

The school’s updated design provides enhanced security and safety as well as protection against the Gorge’s frequent strong easterly winds and heavy rains.

Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School classrooms designed by LSW Architects for flexibility by utilizing furniture and break-out spaces.
Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School common areas designed by LSW Architects to add flexibility.
Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School Commons designed by LSW Architects to create a comfortable eating environment with vaulted wood ceilings and large windows.

Scope and Program

Both Jemtegaard Middle School and Columbia River Gorge Elementary are housed in separate two-story wings that stem from a shared core.

The scope of work included the addition of eight new classrooms, an area for group work/project presentation and administrative support space. The new building is situated between the existing gymnasium and shop building, filling former portable space with permanent learning spaces. Adjoining the existing commons is the new “Main Street” – a gallery and gathering spine between the new gymnasium and the multipurpose event and learning space.

The new gymnasium is the main venue for indoor athletic events equipped with bleachers and an audiovisual display system for assemblies. The two-story multipurpose space is a flat-floored room with capacity for 600 people in retractable, telescopic seating on the main level and fixed seating in the balcony. This space is intended for use as a performance venue for students and the community, as well as an event and learning space.

Creating harmony between acoustic and audiovisual elements was key to the design of this space. New choral and band classrooms, practice rooms, and preparation areas are situated adjacent to the multi-purpose space. and include earth-tone browns, cherry, beige, stone and basalt materials.

Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School dynamism is designed by LSW Architects as the main venue for indoor athletic events.

Features

  • 46 classrooms designed for flexibility by utilizing furniture and break-out spaces.

  • Band and choir room designed for performance using state-of the-art technology and acoustics.

  • Commons designed to create a comfortable eating environment with vaulted wood ceilings and large windows.

  • A gymnasium for each school and middle school locker rooms have abundant daylighting, which reduces energy use.

  • Interior courtyard provides access to the exterior by blocking the prevailing east winds and creating a secure outdoor space.

  • Common areas add flexibility, creating gathering places for larger groups outside of the classrooms.

  • Main office provides security and monitoring at entries into all interior hallways.

  • New playground and fields provide conveniently positioned play equipment, football and soccer fields.

Jemtegaard Middle and Columbia River Gorge Elementary School was designed by LSW Architects and built to fit in with its iconic home in the Pacific Northwest.

Sustainability

The school was built to the standards of the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, which promotes high-performance and resource efficient building.
Among the elements are:

  • Innovative LED lighting and fixtures

  • Heating and cooling system with controls for individual areas

  • Extensive windows to capture natural light with the bonus of providing incredible views of the surrounding beauty