Parkview exterior

The newly rebuilt Parkview Elementary School opened its doors and welcomed students and staff in September 2021. The original Parkview Elementary School was constructed in 1957. Voters approved replacement of the school in the February 2018 capital projects bond and the district broke ground in summer 2020.

“The kids love it, the parents love it, we love it,” Principal Mylo Allen said. “It feels like there is a lot more connectedness to the park than there used to be. From a variety of different places, you always have access to that view.”

Keeping the neighborhood in mind, the new Parkview was designed to keep roof points low, creating the illusion of making the building look smaller and nestled in along Cornwall Park. The new school building is situated along a natural hillside and incorporates a lot of ramps and grade changes. Large sections of land were not graded out and flattened, preserving the natural geography.

“These design elements make Parkview a more interesting site,” Capital Projects Manager Corey Ayers said. “This design follows through to the playground area where we have amphitheater-type seating.”

The outdoor amphitheater-style seating makes a great space for kids and staff to eat lunch or use as an outdoor instructional space, and the new playground is designed to be fully accessible.

Inside the school, the classrooms were designed in pods so that each grade level has its own extended learning space.

“It’s so great to see the kids in the extended learning spaces, working together or just chatting, so you know they are still being classroom appropriate,” office assistant Krista Morrow said.

As in all new buildings in Bellingham Public Schools, Parkview follows district priorities for sustainability and energy efficiency and has several elements in the design to promote this.

Parkview was built solar ready; the new gym roof faces south and has an excellent orientation to get maximum benefit from solar energy. The robust building envelope helps keep even temperatures throughout the building. Ceiling fans and operable windows were installed to help during shoulder seasons as an efficient way to create a comfortable space.

Another sustainable decision was to keep the existing Parkview gym that was renovated in 2016. Though this presented some construction challenges, it also includes many benefits, one of which is to allow the cafeteria to expand or to be used as a multi-purpose space.

The new Parkview takes advantage of all the latest in design and technology: the HVAC system brings 100 percent of the air in from the outside, all materials used in the build are low VOC, and increased daylight throughout the building means less of a reliance on artificial lighting.

“Compared to the old building, there is lots of natural light and good airflow,” Principal Mylo Allen said. “There are also lots of extra work and meeting spaces–I don’t think we realized what we were missing. You don’t notice the impact of it until you have, say, a conference room or an actual staff workroom.”

Parkview Elementary now has several office spaces dedicated to specialists, including an early learning classroom where district assessments for preschool are completed. In addition to having their own classroom space, the pre-K students will have their own age-appropriate play space outside. Parkview also houses an elementary BRIDGES program which is located on the main floor to be easily accessible for families.

“The new space is super!” administrative assistant Cindy Batdorf said. “It’s kind of like driving a new car, we are still trying to figure it all out. I really love how much functional space we have, compared to being smashed in the old building!”

Unfortunately, the global pandemic caused some construction delays which meant the separate bus loop off Coolidge Drive was not complete in time for school to start, but will be completed by mid-November. Other spaces, including the playground and new gym, are also in process and will be completed in the coming months.

Watch the video below to take a tour inside the new school!

 

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