Miller Hull

Bertschi School Expansion

Seattle, WA
Inspiring and educating children through connections to the environment
Client Bertschi School
Certifications LEED Gold
Size 12,290
Completion 2007


This urban pre-K through 5 independent school has grown steadily since its inception in a renovated church in 1975. Located on a tight urban site, adding desired program spaces required developing a master plan of contiguous properties to create a campus. The master plan suggested phasing renovation of existing structures followed by new construction.

Our work included renovation of a single family home in the center of campus for new administration office and a pre-k classroom. The remainder of the block is an integrated structure with indoor and outdoor spaces as well as campus infrastructure. A mostly below grade parking garage, necessary in an urban residential neighborhood, anchors the site with a multi-purpose gymnasium, art classrooms and an outdoor turf playfield above. Large roll-up glass doors open the gym to a playfield accommodating school events. An internal site walkway links new and existing play areas and buildings, unifying the campus.

The result is an integrated campus, internally focused and safe for students to navigate, with an outdoor play area separated from the street and the traffic. Smaller scaled, separate volumes for above grade buildings respect the scale of the surrounding residential neighborhood. The distinctive concrete form on the east facade of the new building on the south of campus acts as a counterpoint to the old church steeple, anchoring edges of the school and reflecting both its past and future.