Sequim School District celebrates new cross-laminated timber modular classrooms

Pilot project brings potential environmental and economic benefits as well as efficiency in construction process

The Sequim School District is celebrating completion new modular classrooms built using an innovative new building product called of cross-laminated timber (CLT) under a pilot project funded by the state Legislature and overseen by the state Department of Enterprise Services.

In all, 20 kindergarten through third-grade classrooms will be constructed using CLT in five school district sites in Washington. CLT is a prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel. CLT stores and sequesters carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere, and is a renewable natural resource. In the Sequim School District, four kindergarten classrooms were constructed at Greywolf Elementary.

"Kids and staff are excited for the new classrooms, and we know they'll feel more settled in a permanent space made from wood that's virtually from their own back yard. With exposed natural wood and glass interior walls, these learning spaces have an open, warm feeling. The district looks forward to bringing these classrooms on line for the start of the 2017-2018 school year," said Sequim School District Superintendent Gary Neal.

CLT is manufactured in the Northwest using trees that in the past have not been economical to harvest, including Douglas fir, Western hemlock and other trees that have diameters as small as 4 inches -- including some dead or diseased trees. Forests in the state are filled with such trees, which can fuel wildfires and pest outbreaks.

"The cross-laminated timber pilot project is a win for the economy, the environment and for public schools where additional classroom space is needed," said Gov. Jay Inslee.

"I'm so excited to see a school project like this showing off CLT and using locally produced wood," says Hilary S. Franz, the state's Commissioner of Public Lands. "The fact that the Sequim school project used lumber from the Olympic Peninsula, mere miles from the school site, is testament to this industry's incredible potential to provide manufacturing and rural jobs here in Washington."

CLT Pilot

The state's 2016 supplemental capital budget included $5.5 million in the state building construction account for the pilot project to construct the classrooms and to measure:

  • Efficiencies in the construction process.
  • Other environmental and economic benefits from using the engineered wood products.

"The cross-laminated Timber classrooms are exactly the type of pilot project we need more of because there are huge potential benefits for both the economy and the environment," said Enterprise Services Director Chris Liu. "I'd like to thank the Governor and the Legislature, the participating school districts and our private sector partners for helping to make this happen."

In addition to the pilot project, the Department of Enterprise Services oversees numerous public works design and construction projects on behalf of the state.

Additional CLT projects

In addition to the classrooms being built at Greywolf Elementary, four modular classrooms are being built in each of the following school districts:

Western Washington

  • Mount Vernon School District – Jefferson Elementary
  • Seattle School District – Maple Elementary
  • Sequim School District – Greywolf Elementary

Eastern Washington

  • Toppenish School District – Valley View Elementary
  • Wapato School District – Adams Elementary

More information

Learn more about the pilot project and the potential benefits that will be assessed on the DES Cross Laminated Timber Pilot Project webpage.

View the CLT Flickr photo album.

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