Construction starts on ULab building at University Prep

Construction has begun on a new building for University Prep, an independent school in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood that serves students in grades 6–12. When complete, the 39,000-square-foot ULab will create a second academic hub for the campus. The new space will be at 2415 N.E. 80th St., across 25th Avenue Northeast from the existing school and in the Ravenna neighborhood. (25th bisects the two neighborhoods in this area.)

Mithun led the design for the project. ULab will have a double-height commons in the center of the building for students to gather and study. Surrounding the commons will be classrooms of varied sizes with open circulation and breakout spaces, faculty and staff offices, and a gym for PE, dance, yoga classes and athletics practices.

Shared gathering spaces and classrooms will be distributed on each of the project’s three floors: level one will feature flexible classrooms that open onto the commons; level two will include classrooms designed for art and science project-based exploration and a maker space; and the third level will have spaces for seminar-based learning. There will also be a rooftop deck for outdoor learning and student gathering.

The project has sustainable design elements. These include a high-efficiency building envelope and mechanical system, as well as a solar array on the roof.

Students will enter the new building through an entry courtyard that also functions as an additional outdoor learning space. Native plants and careful grading in the courtyard will tie the building’s edge to surrounding residential streets and provide shade and habitat. Other features will include bioswales to treat stormwater and a roof terrace over the gym that overlooks the neighboring park.

The facility supports the school’s goal to increase Upper School enrollment from 340 to 450 students and opportunities for expanded course offerings, clubs and athletics.

Mithun design partner David W. Goldberg said in a press release, “The daylit, naturally ventilated commons and learning environments are designed to support student health and engagement. Agile learning spaces will easily adapt for evolving teaching pedagogies and emerging curriculum, providing a flexible framework for decades to come.”

Construction is slated to be complete in time for fall 2023 classes. The general contractor is Skanska.

Mithun is providing integrated design services, including architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. Additional design team members include KPFF Consulting Engineers, civil; Swenson Say Faget, structural; Integral Group, MEP, security, telecom and AV; Stantec, lighting design; A3 Acoustics, acoustics; 4EA Building Science, envelope consultant; Applied Building Information, specifications; Studio Matthews, environmental graphics design; Gordon Adams, hardware; and WBLA, irrigation.

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