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Jefferson Elementary School

4302 N. 13th St., Tacoma, WA 98406

Jefferson Elementary School opened up for the first time in 1906 on property the Tacoma Public Schools purchased for just $300. Almost 100 years later, the original building was torn down and a state-of-the-art new school was built from the ground up on that $300 plot of land.

The architectural concept for the new facility was the interplay of program elements. The primary program types are housed in separate intersecting wings, which form a sequence of shared space from the entry plaza into the building lobby and back outside to the courtyard.

At the main entry, an elongated, triangular plaza gathers visitors and students from the street, the parent drop off and parking lot. This plaza flows through the building into the lobby, then back out into a semi-public courtyard.  Playground structures are sited to preserve the view from the building to the grass playfield beyond. 

The central lobby allows administration and faculty to more easily monitor visitors and students as they enter and pass through the school. The instructional activity room represents the space where children’s imaginations and expression are encouraged. The building forms, materials, shapes and daylighting concepts work together to create clearly defined volumes and can also be used as teaching tools.

 The new building opened in September 2004.


 Project Stats


​Levy issue: ​1997
Square footage:​ ​60,440
Area:​ 3.55 acres
​Capacity: ​425
​Cost: ​$12,500,000
​Scope: ​Demolish old building and construct new school
​Project supervisor: Ernie Eugenio, Tacoma Public Schools
Completion date:​ September 2004
​Architect: ​McGranahan Architects
​Contractor: ​Porter Brothers Construction Company