Crestline makes a comeback

Crews turning former HP offices into temporary school

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter


photoClick to enlarge
photoClick to enlarge

Temporary Crestline Elementary for 2013-14 school year

Where: Former Hewlett-Packard campus now owned by SEH America

Address: 18004 S.E. 34th St.

Size: 68,845 square feet

Cost: $16 per square foot, about $1.1 million

When: Expected construction completion: Aug. 5

Contractor: TEAM Construction

Crestline Elementary School: The Original

Address: 13003 S.E. Seventh St.

Opened: Aug. 29, 1973

43,995 square feet, plus 7,840 square feet in portables

Total space including portables: 51,835 square feet

One-story building; similar design as Riverview Elementary

Destroyed by fire Feb. 3, 2013

First catastrophic loss of a school in Evergreen Public Schools’ 67-year history

Crestline Elementary School: The new school

Breaking ground: Summer 2013 on the site of the original school

Opening: September 2014

60,656 square feet, plus 3,136 square feet in two portable classrooms

Total space including portables: 63,792 square feet

Two stories; similar design as Endeavour Elementary

Parking stalls increased from 102 to 141

Crestline stats

Student enrollment: About 500

Students eligible for free or reduced meals: 72.8 percent

Staff: About 50

The former electronics factory and office space that had been shuttered for years was a beehive of activity. In what had been a cavernous space with a sea of 3,500 cubicles, classrooms had been carved out. Now, electricians, painters and other construction workers were helping Crestline Elementary make a comeback.

A temporary school is already taking shape in Hewlett-Packard’s former factory and office space.

A Feb. 3 fire destroyed Crestline Elementary School, displacing about 500 students and 50 staff members, who were divided by grade level and bused to five elementary schools in Evergreen Public Schools for the remainder of the school year.

In the fall, the Crestline community will be reunited under one roof in 68,845 square feet of the former HP facility. For the 2013-2014 year, Crestline will occupy a corner of the 166,000-square-foot building, which is now owned by SEH America.

“I’m superexcited to close this chapter and get my kids into one building next year,” said Bobbi Hite, Crestline’s principal.

Hite stood in the former HP cafeteria that will become the school cafeteria in September. In the hallways, workers with long-handled rollers were applying a fresh coat of paint.

How is a former high-tech office space that housed 3,500 cubicles being converted to a school? It’s not as enormous a transformation as one would expect.

“The biggest challenge was finding a space that could accommodate the library, playfield, cafeteria and P.E. space,” said Susan Steinbrenner, the district’s director of facilities.

The district considered several spaces, including creating a school of portables on district-owned land at the corner of Northeast 164th Avenue and 39th Street, but the HP site was the least expensive option. The district is paying $16 per square foot, or about $1.1 million, for the temporary space. Steinbrenner said 100 percent of the costs for the temporary site is covered by insurance.

“SEH worked with us to lower the lease cost,” she said. “It’s less than any of the other spaces we viewed.”

All utilities, except electricity, are included in the lease.

Canfield Insurance, the district’s insurer, “pays for anything above and beyond the temporary school,” Steinbrenner said. “We would have paid $40,000 to $50,000 a year in gas and power” at the old school, so the insurance will pay for gas and power that exceeds that amount.

Insurance will pay the additional transportation costs, including $1.50 per mile for school buses. At the old school, about 130 students lived close enough to walk to school. Next year, all students will be bused to the temporary Crestline, which is about four miles away from the site of the destroyed school. That will require two more buses, plus more miles on the existing fleet, Steinbrenner said.

In addition to being the least expensive option, the HP space met all of the essential requirements. The cafeteria and kitchen will need little to no modification. The large cafeteria, with room-darkening blinds and a ceiling projector, can double as meeting space for school assemblies and evening events.

The restrooms are adequate and won’t have to be modified by installing smaller toilets for kindergartners. The children are accustomed to using standard toilets at home, Steinbrenner said.

The former loading dock will become the gym.

A large central space will become the school library, stocked with books donated after the fire and new books.

The band room and music room will be separated from other classrooms to provide a sound buffer.

The former HP conference room will become the school’s professional development conference room and will double as a quiet place for students to work.

Because the space has very high ceilings, the temporary classroom walls are 10 feet high and open at the top.

A portion of the front parking lot will host tetherball, foursquare and other games. New playground equipment will be installed in a field in front of the temporary school and moved to the new school the next year.

Equipping a school

Some furnishings for the temporary school have been donated. Sharp Corporation donated bookcases and acoustic panels, plus furniture for the school offices. SEH America donated carpets for the four kindergarten classrooms.

Items that the district will purchase for the temporary site and then move to the new school include the exterior readerboard, classroom furniture, textbooks, musical instruments, gym equipment, playground chips, appliances for the staff lunchroom, and IT gear including computers, printers, copiers and projectors.

The district is saving on labor costs by applying whiteboard paint to classroom walls rather than installing new whiteboards and then removing them and reinstalling them in the new school the next year.

Crestline Elementary is being rebuilt at its original site, 13003 S.E. Seventh St. It’s scheduled to open in fall 2014.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4530;;

Crestline will go from devastation to rebirth in 1.5 years

A Feb. 3 fire was the first catastrophic loss of a school in the 67-year history of Evergreen Public Schools.

Four days after the fire, classes were divided by grade level and sent to five host elementary schools in the district for the remainder of the school year. Although teachers and classes remained together, they were separated from the rest of their school community.

In the fall, the Crestline community will be reunited under one roof in a temporary Crestline Elementary School located at the former Hewlett-Packard campus, now owned by SEH America. The space is being transformed into a school, and will be ready for teachers and staff in early August. It will be used only for the 2013-2014 school year.

Meanwhile, the debris from the burned school has been cleared from the Crestline site at 13003 S.E. Seventh St. This summer, the district will break ground on a new Crestline Elementary on the site of the original school.

It will be larger and more modern, a two-story design similar to Endeavour Elementary. The rebuilt Crestline Elementary is scheduled to open in September 2014, said Susan Steinbrenner, the district’s director of facilities.

— Susan Parrish

View a video of crews preparing the old HP site for Crestline students on The Columbian's YouTube Channel.