Frequently Asked Questions

Salish Coast Elementary School Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 6/17/2018)

Additional questions may be sent to Teri Freitas, Grant Street School Secretary, at [email protected]

The district will be updating FAQ’s approximately every two weeks. 

How was the new school named?

For a period of two months, community members, staff, parents, and students nominated names for the new school. Over 200 nominations for names were received. According to school board policy, the names needed to be related to geographic features or notable individuals. A committee of community members, parents, and staff reviewed these nominations and made five final recommendations to the school board. The school board chose the name Salish Coast Elementary with a vote of 4 to 1.

Who designed the building?
Community members, students, and Pre-K through Grade 5 teachers and staff helped to create the vision for the new elementary school. Based on their vision statements, the architectural firm Integrus, of Seattle, created the building design.

What is the name of the construction company?
The construction company is Absher Construction of Puyallup, WA. This construction company of many years of experience building elementary schools.

Who are the project managers?
The project managers are Kirk Robinson and Craig Sheets, of The Robinson Company, of Seattle, who are managing the project for the district and work with both Integrus and Absher to ensure an efficiently run and cost effective project.

What grade levels will attend the school?
Students Pre-K through 5th grade will attend the school, including the multiage grades 1-5 OPEPO program.  We also have a preschool and Headstart in our building. 

Will current 4th Grade Students stay at Blue Heron for 5th Grade or attend Salish Coast Elementary?
Parents of current 4th-grade students were surveyed last spring about their preference regarding which school their 5th grader would attend. Overwhelmingly, the outcome of the survey showed that responding parents would like their children to attend 5th grade at the new Salish Coast Elementary. In keeping with this survey outcome, 5th-grade students will attend Salish Coast Elementary School during the 2018-19 school year. Fifth-grade teachers will also move to Salish Coast Elementary School for 2018-19 school year. 

How are classrooms designed in the new building?
Thanks to State legislation, Salish Coast Elementary will have reduced class sizes in grades K-3. This means that classrooms are designed to accommodate various class sizes, depending upon the grade level. Many classrooms will have walls that open or close, depending upon the learning activity and class size. Walls can close, provide a traditional single classroom, or open partially or completely, depending upon the needs of the students and the learning activity.

Will teachers be required to co-teach?
All of our teachers are very collaborative with each other and team together for planning curriculum and instruction for students. There is an opportunity for some teachers to share a classroom for teaching in the new building if they would like to do so. However, there will be no requirement for any of the existing staff to share a classroom unless they choose this opportunity.

How will room assignments be made?
Some programs have established rooms due to the design of the rooms. These include kindergarten, who have bathrooms available in the classroom; the life skills classroom, which has specialized toilets; and early childhood programs that need direct access to outdoor play areas. Programs such as library, music, and PE also have designated spaces. Other programs can be assigned more flexibly. The smaller classrooms in the building are designed for the K-3 classrooms with 17 students to 1 teacher ratio. The larger classrooms are designed for the 4th and 5th grade classrooms with the 27 students to 1 teacher ratio. The Building Leadership Team is providing input on placements of classrooms based on a number of factors in regards to proximity to grade level team members and other programs such as math or reading intervention and special education. The final decision on room placements will be made by the building principal.

Is this an environmentally designed building?
Yes, this building will meet rigorous standards for environmental design.

When did construction begin?
Soil testing was the first step in construction, which was completed throughout the 2016-17 School Year.

What work was completed over the summer of 2017?
Trees were cleared, the site was prepared, a construction road was made, and safety fencing was erected. Foundations for the gym and the commons sections of the new school were erected.

How can I learn more about Salish Coast Elementary and the construction project?
There is information on the Grant Street Elementary website at
There are also regular updates posted on the Grant Street/Salish Coast Facebook page at:
Additionally, a large television monitor outside the school office, as well as parent newsletters, will keep families informed about the project.

Will this building be designed for student safety?
The building will have a gate that closes the courtyard during the school day to limit access and ensure student safety. Additionally, there will be a limited number of entry points into the building to allow full supervision of who enters and leaves the school.

What provisions will be made in the building design to ensure individuals with disabilities have equal access?
There is a walkway from the bus area to the main office entrance that will be accessible to wheelchairs. At the courtyard entrance to the school on Grant Street, there will be a ramp to walk up to the next level with a wheelchair that will meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards. An elevator to the library bridge level will also be available from the gym and commons level.

What will happen for recess during construction?
A temporary playground plan has been made. To learn detailed information about this plan please visit: Additionally, recess schedules have been adjusted so that a smaller number of classes go to recess at a time.

How will buses and student drop off and pick-up be handled during construction?Buses will drop off and pick up students on Grant Street. Students who are riding buses in the afternoon will depart the school at 2:25 pm. Students who are being picked up by parents will play in the playground until 2:35 when their parents will pick them up. Parking along Grant Street during the school day will be for visitors only. The bus zone will be for unloading and loading with no loading and unloading between 7:30 and 8:30 am and 2:00 and 3:00 PM. For more detailed information, please visit the Grant Street Elementary website to view the temporary transportation plan.

What will happen to the large slash pile on the grounds of the school, near Discovery?
The slash pile was created from trees identified by an arborist as dangerous trees or on the site of the new construction. Other trees were left standing, but some limbs removed to provide better animal habitat. Once the slash pile is dry it will be ground into mulch for use on the site of Salish Coast Elementary for landscaping and paths throughout the school grounds.  Larger logs will need time to dry. They will be stored by the district and then used to build items for the new school.

How much space will the new school site have for outdoor features such as a play area and the school garden?
The play area has been increased in size dramatically in design revisions and will include a field to allow organized sports both during the school day and for community groups after school. The school garden space has also been dramatically increased and will become a production garden that will feed students at the new elementary school and across the district. 

What is the total square footage of the gardens at the new school? What will happen to the soil and plants in the current teaching garden?
The teaching garden will be similar in size to our current teaching garden with 4,400 square feet. The production garden will be 11,600 square feet. As soon as the areas for these gardens are available, development of these spaces will start. There is a plan to move the soil from the current teaching garden to the new teaching garden. There is also plans to pot the current plants, care for them over the summer, and move them to the new teaching garden.

What is the Eagle Studio?

The Eagle Studio is a 1169 square foot classroom in the Cafeteria/Commons of the new school. This classroom has a teaching kitchen and other facilities. It will support the school and community's vision of teaching cooking to students. It will also be a good facility for the community to use for a variety of purposes.

Will the art and music programs continue to share a room in the new building?These programs will each have their own classrooms in the new building. The music room is on the stage classroom on the lower level of the building. This will make it easy for concerts and other performances.

What will the class sizes be at Salish Coast Elementary?
The goal for classes sizes in grades K-3 is seventeen students to one teacher. Staffing provided for some specialist teacher time is also calculated in this number. For students in grades 4 and 5 the goal is 27 students. There can be some variability in the exact number of students assigned to a classroom. For instance, if at a grade level there ends up being 18 students per class, an additional class would not be opened up for this small of number of students. The same would be true if there ended up being 16 students per class that it would not result in reducing the number of classes at that grade level by one class. For more information on class sizes are calculated in Washington State:

What process has been utilized to select furniture for the new school?
Teachers and other staff members have been very involved in the selection of furniture for the new school. Architects met with staff on an individual and group basis multiple times to get input on furniture needs for both teachers and students. The Building Leadership Team which is composed of ten members, including a variety of staff, a parent representative, and a representative from 4th and 5th grade at Blue Heron met five separate meetings to discuss the furniture choices. This team brought back information to the staff members they represented so changes to the furniture selection package could be made accordingly.

How was the playground equipment selected?
This was a similar process for selecting playground equipment in that there were multiple meetings of the Building Leadership Team with special education and early childhood included to discuss the playground equipment selection and layout. The team also brought information back to the staff members they represented so changes could be made based on their suggestions.

Is there a plan to use existing furniture in the new building?
Teachers have identified furniture they would like to take with them to the new building. Furniture that has not been selected by teachers to be taken to the new building will be subject to the board policy concerning surplus items. The first step will be that Blue Heron and Port Townsend High Schools will have an opportunity to take this unwanted furniture. The second step is that other public schools and then private schools will have an opportunity to take this unwanted furniture. The final step will be a sale available to the public that will take place during the week of June 18th.

Is there storage in the new building?
There is student storage in the form of individual cubbies that will fit backpacks, lunches, and coats in the hallways. This will provide individual storage for each student that will ensure their belongings are not touching the belongings of others. In regards to storage for teacher materials, there is built in shelving in the classrooms, as well as additional shelving and storage units in the classrooms. Throughout the building there are storage closets and a larger storage room in the office.

Where will teacher items be stored during the transition from the old building to the new building?
Brad Taylor, Director of Facilities, has identified some areas in district for the storage of teacher items during the transition.

Why have some changes been made during the construction project?
The Seattle area construction market, which we are a part of, has seen significant increases in construction costs. Given to these unexpected cost increases, some changes have been made to ensure the project stays on budget. Some of these changes include flooring changes and holding off on building the covered play area. It is still possible that the project will be able to add these items back in.

What is the plan for buses?
The bus area will be in a pull out area on Discovery Road, which is starting to take shape now. There will be a path through the trees from Discovery Road in which students can walk directly into the school.

What is the plan for parking?
There will be a total of 229 spaces for parking. This includes: 28 new spaces on school district property; 45 new on-street spaces; 49 refurbished on-street spaces; 50 existing on-street spaces for a total of 172 improved parking spaces. Additionally, there will be 22 temporary load/unload spaces and 35 unimproved on-street spaces. The district seeking a parking variance and working with the city.  The hearing is scheduled for early June 2018.  More information will be provided after this hearing.

Where will parents gather to pick up students in the afternoon?
There will be a large area in front of the school where the current building is that will provide a nice gathering area for parents to receive their students in the afternoon. 

What resources will the school provide the community in the new facility?
The new school will have many resources available to the larger school community. There are plans for a well-child clinic, family education center, library use during after school hours, connections to social services, and recreation opportunities outside and in the gymnasium during after school hours.

What plans are there to archive Grant Street’s history as a school?
A digital gallery of Grant Street will be made before the school is demolished that will include information on its history and importance in the community. This will be readily available to all through the school district's website.

What plans are there to preserve the art at Grant Street and use it at Salish Coast Elementary?
Usable art pieces will be incorporated into the school in areas such as the commons, the entry, playground, classrooms, and garden as appropriate with input from the architects and community members. What resources will the school provide the community in the new facility?

What will happen to the tiles that students made in 1989 that have been on the exterior of the building?
Some of these have already been successfully removed and are available for being returned to the original artists by calling the school office at 360-379-4535.

What is the process for moisture control at the construction site?
There have been a few questions regarding potential moisture within the construction of the new elementary school. There are extensive industry standards that are followed, and there is no issue with high moisture levels. In an effort to provide ample detail, the following questions and answers may be helpful. 

What is the makeup of the exterior envelope?
Metal panel/brick veneer; Minimum 1” air gap for breathable space WRB Commercial grade Tyvek building wrap with taped seam; 5/8” structural plywood sheathing 
2x Dimensional Framed Walls R-21 Batt Insulation stuffed in wall cavity
Interior vapor retarder; 5/8” GWB

What is the makeup of the roof structure?
Fully adhered EPDM roofing membrane; Cover board gypsum roof sheathing 2 layers Poly-insulation Air & Vapor Retarder Structural plywood roof deck; Dimensional framing

What is the mechanism for heating the building during construction?
Heating, Air Movement, and Moisture Reduction Measures in Place: 
3 ea. – 550,000 BTU Propane Blast Furnaces –3000 CFM
6 ea. – 28 GAL Dehumidifier – 538 CFM 
14 ea. – 36” Propeller Fan – 11000 CFM

What does the International Building Code require for moisture content in wood framing?
IBC Section 2303.1.9.2 Moisture content.
Where preservative-treated wood is used in enclosed locations where drying in service cannot readily occur, such wood shall be at a moisture content of 19 percent or less before being covered with insulation, interior wall finish, floor covering or other materials.

What quality control measures and testing are taking place on site?
Continuous Exterior/Interior wall moisture testing; Concrete strength testing; Welding inspections Contractor/Architect/Building Inspector/PTSD site inspections; Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler pressure testing Wall nailing inspections 

What inspection controls are in place to verify the above requirements are met?Full inspection of wall areas prior to enclosure / cover by City of Port Townsend Building Officials; Contractor continuous inspections / monitoring; Architect / Engineer periodic inspection; Owner weekly review of progress and quality 

Are any additional measures being taken for wood framing substrates exposed to elements?
The contractor has elected to apply Pro Endurance Bio Barrier mold inhibitor spray on the open wall cavity before interior insulation is applied but after moisture content has been achieved.
Note: This product is not required by the International Building Code but an elective chosen to put in place for safe measures as a “belt and suspenders” given the construction type and local climate. 

What additional oversights are in place?
In addition, the City of Port Townsend Building Inspector has been on site daily to provide oversight and assurances to the voters that this project is completed appropriately. 

How will after school use requests be handled in the new building?
In the same manner they are handled currently.  The group requesting use would have to complete a facility request through the district’s FMX site.  If the request is approved they would gain access either through a custodian or a timed key card.  The after-hours access areas are the gym, library, and commons.  There are secure gates that prevent access to classroom areas.

How were flooring decisions made?
Rubber flooring was considered for the building but was not chosen due to expense.  The second choice was between carpeting and polished concrete. Polished concrete was deemed to be a superior choice over carpet because of ease of cleaning, similar acoustical properties, and less maintenance over time. Rubber flooring may be added in at a later date if there are funds to do so.

Is there storage in the new school?
There are a number of storage closets throughout the building outside of classrooms available.  In addition, there is storage in the office area, gym, and an area outside near the playground.  Plans are being made to identify other areas that can be utilized for storage in the building.

Why are K-3 classrooms 600 square feet?
With class size reduction, the goal will be to have all K-3 classrooms with a ratio of 17 students to 1 teacher.  As said previously, this may mean a couple less or a couple more students per classroom based on enrollment in a grade level.  The 600 square foot size provides the same amount of square footage per student as a 900 square foot classroom at 4th or 5th grade that has a goal of a 27 students to 1 teacher ratio.  In order to have less students in a classroom, a smaller classroom is necessary in order to be able to build the number of classrooms needed and stay within a reasonable project budget.

What is the maintenance plan for keeping the new school in good condition
Brad Taylor, Director of Facilities, and his team have a plan for ensuring regular cleaning, maintenance, and repairs are completed.  Decisions regarding materials and construction have been made with maintenance concerns in mind. Yes we will take care of the building. 

What is the GCCM process?
RCW 39.10.340-410 provides the GC/CM approach to public works. A GC/CM is procured through a multi-part selection process that includes consideration and evaluation of the GC/CM bidder qualifications and experience together with some cost elements. The GC/CM is selected early in design and generally assists the Owner in evaluating the project during the design phase and then provides construction management services. This type of project delivery is sometimes called Construction Management at Risk because the contractor assumes part of the project construction risk. The GC/CM delivery method is intended to create a more collaborative relationship between the owner and the General Contractor that is not found in a traditional “design-bid-build” delivery method. The collaborative approach is a core philosophical component to make any GC/CM project successful.

Is the project over budget?
The project is not over budget. The school district and its board of directors are monitoring costs closely. 

What is an additive alternate? 
An additive alternate is something that can be added to the project later if it ends up being affordable but is not part of the base bid package.

What is the maximum occupancy of each classroom?
The fire department will only determine maximum occupancy for common areas and not classrooms.  The fire department will be doing this in August before the building is opened.

Is there a sink in every classroom?
Yes, there is a sink in every classroom. Some classrooms such as preschool have more than one sink.

How are classroom layouts designed?
Suggested classroom layouts were designed by architects at Integrus Architecture.  Teachers gave considerable input in a variety of meetings.  When teachers move into their classrooms, they will have the freedom to change these suggested layouts to meet their needs for teaching and learning in their new classrooms.

Who has to approve occupancy?
The city, the fire department, and the health department have to approve occupancy.  The elevator permit is provided by labor and industries.  The city will issue the final occupancy certificate.

How do door locks work?
External doors are operated through a key card. These key cards are programmed to be specific to each user.  If one of these cards is lost or not returned, it is deactivated.  Exterior doors can be automatically locked with the click of a button in a matter of seconds.  Interior doors will be operated by a key.  The doors will have a school safe latch.  To read more about these:

Is the building energy efficient?
Energy efficiency was a major consideration throughout the building design process.  Building orientation was established to maximize future potential solar energy installation on the south-facing roof of the building wing closest to Discovery Way.  Installed conduit between the roof and mechanical room will facilitate potential installation of roof-top solar panels, perhaps by a PUD sponsored community solar initiative. Shadows from mature trees on the south portion of the site were assessed in locating the building to minimize affects even at low sun angles of winter solstice. Wall and roof insulation provide for an efficient building envelope while large south-facing windows will provide for passive solar heating.  The heat distribution system (water-driven radiators) will permit a variety of heat systems to be used throughout the building lifespan ensuring that technological advances can be incorporated.  Initial heating will be provided by electrical boiler with the hope that advanced technologies such as an air-to-water heat pump can be incorporated in the future.

Additional questions may be sent to Teri Freitas, Grant Street School Secretary, at [email protected] 

The district will update these frequently asked questions approximately every two weeks.
Last update:  6/17/18

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