Des Moines Elementary School
With passage of the 2016 bond, we constructed a new 700-student Des Moines Elementary School on the district-owned Zenith Park site to house Des Moines students, with room for growing enrollment.
Construction started at the end of the 2018-19 school year. The new school opened on-time and on-budget September 4, 2019. The grand opening ceremony was held September 26, 2019.
Planning workshops with staff guided the architects in creating a design that supports the educational specifications. School staff, families and community members helped plan, design and name our new school.
Site Location: 23801 16th Ave South, Des Moines WA 98198
Check out photos of our progress from planning and community meetings to demolition, construction and ribbon cutting.
Planning and design of the new elementary school began in February 2017. Staff and community members provided guidance and review to Hutteball + Oremus Architecture. Absher Construction was selected to build the school through a bid process. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 8, 2018.
Planning & Design | February 2017 - March 2018
Bid & Award | March - April 2018
Construction | May 2018 - July 2019
Occupancy | July - August 2019
School Starts | Fall 2019
Hutteball + Oremus Architecture presented design images below. This design board is on display at central office in the lobby. A larger pdf file of the design image is available below.
Please call 206-631-3002 to request to see the new Des Moines Elementary School display board in person or for accessibility assistance.
The original Des Moines Elementary is more than 90 years old and was identified for replacement in the 2016 bond.
It is operating with outdated heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems that are costly to repair and at risk of failure. Because it was built in and for an earlier era, it is not up to current fire or earthquake codes. The electrical infrastructure cannot support the technology we expect in today’s schools.
An independent building evaluation, completed in May 2013, listed multiple issues that could force sudden closure of the building. In that event, we would be forced to bus students to another facility. A second independent building evaluation, completed in December 2014, also found many building systems beyond their useful life.
The Des Moines site is under four acres, less than half the state-recommended size for an elementary school. Because of that, we would have been unable to collect some or all of the state matching funds available for school construction if we were to rebuild on that site. Rebuilding on the site would also have required demolition of the existing building in order to accommodate growing enrollment.
We are sensitive to the school's historic significance to the community. The district plans to retain the Des Moines Elementary facility for school district use or for a public purpose.
The Zenith site is 17 acres, ample space for an elementary school with room for growing enrollment, playfields, adequate parking, and separate bus and parent drop-off areas for safety. The site was eligible for full state match.
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Librarian Karen Smith and 5th grade student Sahiba Minhas helped Principal Rick Wisen and district leaders cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the new Des Moines Elementary School. 300+ community members toured the new school.
The Grand Opening Celebration for your new Des Moines Elementary School is September 26. Find out more and RSVP to save a seat.
During May and June we said goodbye at our two oldest school buildings. Here is a round-up of links to videos, photos and more from the farewell events for alumni and community members and from the last day of school at Des Moines Elementary School and Highline High School.
Six community members and experts keep an eye on our 2016 school bond projects and finances. We provide quarterly reports to the Oversight Committee and the school board. Get the status on every bond project and other capital projects in this report summary. We're on target with the 2016 school bond.
Project Update | Des Moines Elementary School
Construction is on schedule for Principal Rick Wisen and front office staff to move in to the new school in early August. Learn about improvements coming to the walking paths by the school--plus a new center turn lane on 16th Avenue South.
Des Moines city council members and Highline Public Schools board members inspected progress at the new Des Moines Elementary School in early June.