West Valley Middle School

West Valley Middle School
Yakima, Washington

Construction Cost:
$9,218,000

Building Area:
106,000 square feet

Project Status:
Completed 1996

The West Valley Middle School was designed in conjunction with Architects West to relieve overcrowding for both the elementary schools and the junior high school by creating a school that would provide classrooms for the 6th and 7th grades. The 106,000-square-foot, 900-student facility was sited adjacent to the West Valley Junior High School to take advantage of combined athletic fields, student drop-off areas and vehicle parking. The overall design concept of a “school within a school” was developed by working with the Educational Specification Committee. The idea was to provide a core activity area surrounded by six general classrooms, two science rooms, a teacher planning area and restrooms. The core area was designed to allow the teaching staff the flexibility to provide instruction in art, home economics, team teaching and other activities that would enhance the instructional possibilities for the teachers. The “school within a school” concept was to provide a means for the students and the staff to be able to identify with a singular teaching area within the larger school. The teaching pods would allow students a platform to build friendships with other students and staff and reduce the isolation that large schools tend to create thus helping students to learn and teachers to teach.

In addition to the four classroom pods the facility included a central Learning Resource Center, Vocational Classrooms, Student Commons, Band Rooms, and a Gymnasium/Locker Room and other support service spaces.