Elevated Campus. Mount Si’s campus is elevated in every sense of the word: educationally, experientially, and literally. The campus nests in a valley defined by two mountains and the Snoqualmie River, which creates a floodway. Responding to these natural conditions, the school is elevated above flood levels, not only safeguarding the facility but also maximizing views of the mountain range. By weaving in social and informal learning spaces at a variety of scales, the design honors individual and group activities equally.
With a site half the size of a community college campus, concerns about the school’s large scale were at the forefront. Inviting a progressive educational philosophy, seven buildings, three stories each, strategically incorporate 2,300 students into interdisciplinary academies.
These technology-rich “colleges,” with centrally located shared spaces, encourage interaction, while also breaking down the scale of the school for a more personal feel. Both indoors and outdoors, areas for groups of different sizes, whether studying, gathering or socializing, support the project-based experiences that help students prepare for college and careers.
Elevating the building on plinths protects the school from flooding and allows floodwaters to flow unobstructed on the property. The space below the raised platform has become a 400-car garage— a future-orientated solution that exemplifies efficient land use. Lifting the school above the parking provides elevated outdoor space, a more secure campus, and achieves in 34 acres what it typically takes 50 to 60 acres to accomplish. As the region continues to grow, other school districts will consider Mount Si a model for future development.