Shadle Park Turns Around

Story by Carl Molesworth | September 28, 2010

A $70.6-million, multiphased construction and modernization project at Shadle Park High School in Spokane, WA, is making good progress toward completion in time for the start of the 2009–2010 school year.

Spokane Public Schools selected Garco Construction Inc. as general contractor and construction manager for the project on Spokane's North Side in January 2006. The school district was one of 10 in Washington that had been allowed to test the general contractor/construction manager process after previously being restricted to the traditional design-bid-build approach. Heery International was hired as a consultant because of its GC/CM experience.

The early selection allowed Garco to participate in the design stage along with district staff and Northwest Architectural Co., the Spokane firm that designed the school improvements. Having the contractor on board also enabled the district to determine existing conditions before going into construction. One early discovery was that an earlier addition was structurally insufficient and had to be torn out. That information was then shared with the project structural engineer, who incorporated it into the design.

Design work took more than 18 months to complete, with the modernization of the school starting in the fall of 2007.

According to Garco, the original 1957 building is being updated and renovated with a goal of keeping its original "Glass Palace" look. In addition to renovating approximately 220,042 square feet of the original building, an additional 54,933 square feet will be added in the form of a new gymnasium, library, additional administration space, additional career and technology education (CTE) space, and new classrooms.

The completed project will provide an entirely reorganized layout within the school, including the relocation of the commons area, the kitchen and the administration area. In addition, a new promenade on the west side of the school will connect the school with the adjoining Shadle Park as well as provide a new main entrance for the school.

Phase One was finished in time for students to start the current school year last fall. It accounted for nearly half of the project, including new construction and remodeled portions of the original building. Students and staff began the school year with a new library and cafeteria-commons, new gyms and remodeled health and fitness spaces, and roughly 25 completely revamped classrooms in the northwest wing of the school.

Summer 2008 construction efforts also completed new, energy-efficient air systems, as well as upgrades to the technology and security systems, bringing the completed portions of Shadle up to par with the rest of the district's newer high schools.

Shadle's new main entrance, now on the west side of the school, highlights an expansive vista of the neighboring park. The drop-off and pick-up area on the north side of the school will feature a tree-lined promenade. All of Shadle's signature windows are being replaced with more energy-efficient glass.

"Finally, the school celebrates its connection to its namesake park instead of turning its back to it," said Greg Brown, director of Capital Projects for Spokane Public Schools and a Shadle Park graduate.

Phase Two of the project turned Garco's attention to another dozen classrooms, the main administration offices, the counseling and career center, and started the transformation of the auditorium to a performing arts theater. Phase Three, now under way, finishes the first floor general classrooms and completes the work on the theater. Completing the north-end science wing and the career and technical education wings will round out Phase Four. The project's final phase will occur over the summer of 2009 with the demolition of the old Field School and replacement of a parking area, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2010.

"The new school takes my breath away," said Shadle senior James Pallardy. "Seeing all the hard work that's going into our school fills you with pride."

An additional benefit from the success of the project is that the state Legislature subsequently passed a law that allows schools to procure construction through the GC/CM method permanently.