Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Des Moines Elementary School

New Des Moines Elementary Design, Front Entry, June 2018

Des Moines Elementary School, Opened September 4, 2019

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

Photos of Progress


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

Designs & Plans

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.

Design & Layout Plan for Des Moines Elementary School, June 2018

Download Des Moines Elementary School Design & Building Layout Plans, May 2018 (pdf)

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It is operating with outdated heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems that are costly to repair and at risk of failure.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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Des Moines Elementary Construction Updates