Creation of a personalized, student-centered environment that facilitates interaction and participation was the guiding vision for Simpson Intermediate School. Simpson serves the town of Montesano, Wash., a community whose history and fortunes have been shaped by its location at the convergence of three rivers. The floor plan is influenced by local CAPACITY280COST PER SQ FT$268.00CITATIONElementary School CitationFEATURED IN2010 Architectural Portfolio and draws from the town’s history as a hub of the region’s timber industry. The main corridor, featured in whimsical flooring insets evocative of water, represents the Chehalis River, with two secondary entry points and exterior walkways echoing the Satsop and Wynoochee Rivers. Historic logging images and educational interpretives line the hallway, and raw timber is used throughout in homage to surrounding forests and Montesano’s logging past.
The educational program is centered on small learning communities, adaptability, space flexibility, development of a collaborative environment and a technology-rich curriculum. Each grade level is broken into clusters around shared learning spaces called "Star Centers." Each Star Center owns a breakaway space on the main corridor that students can personalize, creating ownership, identity and a sense of place. Because of Simpson’s central role in the life of the community, inclusion and facility access also were significant design considerations.