BTA IV » Magnolia School » Planning & Construction Updates and Photos

Planning & Construction Updates and Photos

February 2019

  • Work is underway on hardscape, irrigation and planter construction.  
  • Drywall work is nearly done.
  • Installation of the ceiling grid/acoustic ceiling panel, painting, ceramic tiling, casework and finish carpentry, and visual display boards installation are in progress.
  • Restoration of the historic building’s brick lintels continues.  

January 2019

Site work in progress: Stormwater bioretention planter construction, irrigation system installation, new domestic water installation and concrete paving activities.

Building exterior work in progress: Fiber cement siding and restoration of brick lintels.  

Building interior work in progress: Gypsum wallboard, painting, ceiling grid/acoustic ceiling panels, ceramic tile, casework, finish carpentry and visual display tackboards, elevator, fixtures and trim, fin tube, ductwork in classroom wing penthouse, and electrical line and low voltage cabling.  

December 2018

Site: Site wall construction continues. Reconstruction of main entry stairs ongoing.

Exterior: Fiber cement siding, storefront and glazing activities underway for the gym addition and classroom addition. Restoration of designated historic windows in progress.

Building: Interior wall and soffit framing, drywall, ceiling grid, painting, ceramic tile, casework activities ongoing. Elevator installation has begun. Miscellaneous patch and repair of walls in historic building in progress. Plumbing, air handling and other heavy mechanical equipment and ductwork installation ongoing. Electrical line and low voltage rough-in and cabling work continues.

November 2018

  • Permanent power installed and side sewer tie-ins in progress
  • Mechanical/boiler room and mechanical/electrical/plumbing work ongoing
  • Interior framing 95% complete
  • Interior drywall installation completed in historic building and gym addition
  • Interior drywall installation continues in classroom addition
  • Interior painting begun in historic building
  • Exterior wall cladding, storefront and glazing installation on-going

October 2018

  • Completed roofing project
  • Continued mechanical/boiler room work in the historic building
  • Had Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing and framing inspection for the gym addition
  • Continued interior wall finishes in the gym

September 2018

  • Exterior framing and gypsum wallboard installation in building A
  • Weather barriers and support system in building C
  • Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing rough-in throughout the school
  • Work on the right-of-way

August 2018

  • Electrical conduit rough-in for transformer complete.
  • Steel installation complete for new construction in zones A and C.
  • Exterior sheathing and flashing installation started in zone C.
  • Roof installation on the existing two-story building and zone C were underway.
  • Major demolition was completed.

June 2018

  • Continued masonry restoration
  • Continued underground utilities  
  • Continued mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-in; including under-slab plumbing in the historic building
  • Continued interior framing in historic building
  • Continued structural upgrades at roof of historic building
  • Completed gymnasium roof decking and mechanical mezzanine composite floor
  • Started classroom addition steel/joist and decking 

April 2018

  • Continued ongoing abatement and selective demolition 
  • Proceeded with brick restoration and installation of helical seismic anchors 
  • Completed gymnasium foundations 
  • Installed underground utilities 
  • Continued Mechanical | Electrical | Plumbing (MEP) rough-in, including under-slab plumbing in the historic building

March 2018


  • Constructing retaining walls at northeast corner of site and foundation wall at east gym elevation 
  • Installing utilities 


  • Continued selective demolition and hazardous materials abatement 
  • Began mechanical and electrical layout for pipe and duct penetrations 


  • Continued masonry restoration and cleaning on-going by school district masons.

January/February/March 2018

A Notice to Proceed was issued to the general contractor, FORMA Construction Company, on December 19, 2017. Construction activities began after Christmas and are on-going.

Construction activities to date include:

  • Clearing and grubbing of trees and bushes along the eastern slope above Ella Bailey Park.
  • Erection of perimeter site fencing and establishment of the main construction site entrance off W. McGraw.
  • Selective demolition
  • Hazardous material abatement
  • Installation of underground utilities
  • Masonry cleaning and restoration
  • Layout of pipe and ducts running throughout the building.

Current activities include construction of site retaining walls and new building foundations.

July 2017

The Superintendent made the recommendation and the School Board concurred to reject the bids received in May and re-bid the project in late October to better position the project for attracting more bidders and receiving more favorable bid prices. In conjunction with rebidding the project, the School District has also decided on a slate of cost cutting measures as a way to assist in bringing the project within budget. Mahlum Architects is currently working to incorporate these changes in the bidding documents in preparation for rebidding.

The revised bid documents are expected to be advertised for bids in late September with bid opening scheduled for late October. The school will open fall 2019.

The following letter was sent by the Growth Boundaries Project to families announcing the delay:

Dear Magnolia and Queen Anne area families:

We hope your summer is off to a nice start, we are writing with some updates to boundaries and proposed changes to Fort Lawton. In preparation for the reopening of Magnolia Elementary, SPS began the boundary review process earlier this spring. The boundary review process initially suggested some required movement of students across schools in order to balance enrollment in this area of the city. This potential change created a great deal of community interest and many alternative boundary solutions. Reconstruction of Magnolia Elementary and drawing of the related school boundaries will be delayed. Recent construction bids for Magnolia Elementary came in significantly greater than anticipated. To secure more favorable bid results, the Capital Projects Office recommended, and the Superintendent approved, rebidding the project in the fall of 2017 and likely delaying the school opening until the fall of 2019. With the delay of the Magnolia Elementary project, we will also delay finalizing the boundaries. The delay will provide time for district staff and the City of Seattle to analyze the possibility of adding a school at Fort Lawton.

For the past ten years, the City of Seattle has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers on repurposing the Fort Lawton site. The City has proposed using the site for affordable housing, a park, or other city purposes. Many families have expressed interest in adding a school at that site as well. Seattle Public Schools is exploring this idea with city planners. The US Department of Education manages any federal property that might be used for educational purposes. This means, that while the city may be supportive, we still need to meet multiple requirements including:

Construction must be completed within 36 months of receiving the land [12 months if not doing major renovations or construction] There must be a current, demonstrated need for the land or building Specificity on educational use [what kind of school] must already be determined And an aligned budget must accompany the request to the US Department of Education Once we have clarity on whether we could meet the eligibility criteria, we will contact the city for further conversation about the timeline and what might be possible.

Thank you to the many Magnolia and Queen Anne families who provided feedback during the initial boundary discussions. We look forward to reengaging as a revised timeline is developed and as we learn more about the potential of a school site at Fort Lawton.

May 2017

SPS opened bids on May 16, 2017. There were two bids submitted. Each was significantly higher than the construction budget. Next step options are under discussion, and department leadership will be making a formal recommendation to the Seattle School Board for final direction. District maintenance personnel have been doing selective demolition work. The building permit review process is on-going. The Certificate of Approval from the Landmarks Preservation Board and the Master Use Permit from Land Use have been received.


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