TACOMA -- On the first day of school, students at McCarver Elementary in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood walked into a brand new building.
McCarver Elementary is the second school to be renovated out of 14 in the district.
The school was gutted and rebuilt last year after voters approved a $500 million bond.
Rob Sawatzky, who heads up planning and construction for the Tacoma School District, says the layout is designed to improve learning in the classroom and meet kids where they are.
“If kids want to write on the surface they can write on the surface. If teachers want to move the room around quick they can flip the tables up and they can move the tables around,” he said. “You also have chairs for kids of different sizes that actually has a 3D movement, and it moves to and from the learning surface and it moves up and down so if you’re a different size there are chairs that fit you.”
The room designs also reflect the times.
“In the case of a lockdown if you need to block the windows, these [dry erase boards] close off and make sure there isn’t a visual connection to the room.”
The school sits in a neighborhood that has historically been considered underserved. That’s part of the reason why the district wants to open it up to the community after hours.
"What would it be like if we were to create a community library? We don’t know what that looks like yet but we’ve built the building so that we can partner with someone and operationalize it that way it could become that."
For now it’s a fresh space for up to 450 kids to learn.
Steward Middle School is being renovated now in time for the 2017 school. All 14 schools are expected to be completed by 2021.
Copyright 2016 KING