A new beginning for Madrona K-8

Much anticipated state-of-the-art K-8 school opens in Edmonds
By Brian Soergel | Jan 10, 2019
Photo by: Brian Soergel Students walks up a sidewalk to enter their new school for the first time.

There’s no doubt Madrona K-8 students were overjoyed when they arrived at their new school Monday, Jan. 7. There were plenty of hugs and happy faces.

But administrators, parents, guardians, teachers and support staff were no doubt even more pleased.

“It’s been a long journey, but well worth it,” said Edmonds School District Superintendent Kristine McDuffy, who held the front door open for the first batch of students. “It’s a beautiful space. There are lots of unique features and deep thoughts to the school.”

That journey included the past 29 years in an outdated 55-year-old building, a fire in 2015 that caused more than $250,000 in damages and a dispute with Olympic View Water and Sewer District that often turned contentious.

In the latter case, Olympic View said it was concerned that hooking up to the school’s drainage system would pollute its aquifer, the underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or other materials that groundwater can be extracted from through water wells.

The two parties reached an agreement in early September. According to school district spokeswoman Kelly Franson, the wells will be operational in about a year, as per the agreement.

While the old Madrona was being torn down and the new school constructed, its more than 630 students were bused to the former Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood.

The new, $49.25 million, 76,554-square-foot school – funded by a capital construction bond and approved by voters in February 2014 – is built just east of the old school.

The 41-acre site, at 9200 236th St. SW, includes new parking and student drop-off as well as a new bus loop with extended queuing.

Originally built as Madrona Junior High, Madrona K-8 has a non-graded program comprised of classrooms for three grade levels. The classrooms are called “centers,” with names such as Soleil, El Mundo, Ohana and City Center. Primary and intermediate centers are comprised of two or three teachers – there are 41 total at Madrona – who work with a group of students for three years.

The middle school also is multiage, with seventh- and eighth-graders working on a two-year curriculum.

Madrona is a districtwide option school, which means students from throughout the district can attend.

Madrona also includes the district’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. The school currently accommodates about 30 students, and has digital clocks, color-coded alarms, readerboards and other amenities. You’ll see sign language on campus, both from students and teachers.

Madrona’s principal is Kathleen Hodges, now in her second year.

“I’m just happy that there’s kids on campus,” she said Monday from her office, which she moved into a week before winter break. “It’s one thing to see it on blueprint. But to see it in person, to go in the learning centers after teachers have set them up, it’s just been awesome.”

One feature unique to Madrona in the school district are 16 “everybody” bathrooms, which each serves just one student. Sinks for washing hands are just outside the stalls.

“We discussed those at our recent open house,” Hodges said, “and the only feedback was positive.”

One happy parent on Monday was Alicia McFarlane, who has two children in fourth grade and one in first.

“We are over-the-moon-excited about moving into the new building,” she said. “We’re so grateful for the staff, who worked extra-hard hours over the break to get it all done for us. They’ve done a great job in making us all feel welcome. Alderwood was an adventure, but this is much nicer. I think there will be a lot more parent involvement again.”

Open house

An open house for Madrona K-8’s dedication is 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16. In addition to music from Madrona’s middle school band, Hodges will speak and will be joined by McDuffy, school board director Carin Chase, Corrie Rosen from Mahlem Architecture and Jim Phillips of Forma Construction


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