A “wow” reaction to Northwood Elementary School

June 20, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

Explore +

Despite a rainy Saturday morning, hundreds of community members came out for the dedication and tours of Northwood Elementary, Mercer Island’s newest school in 53 years. The reaction was pretty much universal … “wow.”

A friend and fellow Islander Maria Sommerfield attended the opening day ceremony and shared her reaction on Facebook:

“It is like the Google building of elementary schools. It is astonishing how beautiful it is. Roof-top gardens, huge windows, and amazing use of light and space. Whoever designed this place deserves an award. I am mind blown.”

The new school was designed by Mahlum Architects of Seattle and built by Bayley Construction of Mercer Island.  It is near completion and will open for the 2016-2017 school year.

According to the Mercer Island School District website, the building is 77,000 square feet and features of the school and school grounds include:

  • 20 general-purpose classrooms
  • Two developmental preschool classrooms
  • Eight shared learning areas
  • Radiant floor heating in classrooms
  • Library/Kitchen / Commons / Administrative and Counseling areas
  • Gym that includes a high school-sized basketball court along with volleyball, badminton, and various other school sports
  • Parking on the east side of the site that will accomodate 67 high school students during the school day, after school use by Mary Wayte Pool, and event parking for various activities on the North Mercer complex
  • Dedicated bus loop off SE 40th St
  • Parking and student loading on west side
  • Frontage improvements on 86th Avenue SE and along the south side of SE 40th St
  • Restoration of the Madrone Grove at the corner of 86th SE and SE 40th St
  • An 8,200 square foot green roof
  • A 99.9 kilowatt-hour solar array

Congrats to the Mercer Island School District, School Board members, Northwood Elementary PTA, all Mercer Island community members, and to the lucky kids who will get to attend the new school.

North-Side-Northwood Northwood-Plaque Northwood-Rooftop-GardensFront-Hall

Photo credit: Maria Sommerfield

Classroom photo by Maria Sommerfield

Photo credit: Maria Sommerfield

Classroom photo by Maria Sommerfield


Photo credit: Mercer Island School District

Commons photo (above): Mercer Island School District

Photo credit: Mercer Island School District

Courtyard photo (above): Mercer Island School District

Small-Playground Playground

Photo credit: Mercer Island School District

Playground photo: Mercer Island School District

Did you tour the new school?  What was your reaction?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Visit the Northwood Elementary School website at: www.mercerislandschools.org/nwes