Governor Jay Inslee celebrates four new classrooms built from innovative Cross Laminated Timber at ribbon cutting ceremony


Leda Chahim
Government Affairs Director
206-905-6922 (office); 206-227-1433 (cell) |

Stephanie Holmberg
MVSD Capital Projects Assistant
360-428-6184 |

Governor Jay Inslee celebrates four new classrooms built from innovative Cross Laminated Timber at ribbon cutting ceremony

The classrooms are part of a statewide pilot project to address classroom sizes while also pioneering the use of an innovative timber product, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), with the opportunity to generate benefits for the environment and for rural communities.

MOUNT VERNON, WA — Governor Jay Inslee celebrated the completion of a new modular classroom building made from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jefferson Elementary School.

The classrooms are part of a statewide pilot project overseen by the Department of Enterprise Services to build classrooms and pioneer the use of CLT in Washington State. Mount Vernon school district is one of five districts having classrooms built from CLT for kindergarten through third graders. Four new classrooms will be open to Jefferson Elementary students at the start of the 2017-18 school year. The design-build team for the classrooms was led by Walsh Construction Co. with Mahlum Architects.

“We’re building much-needed classroom space for our children while building the market for an innovative new building material,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “By piloting the use of CLT, we’re helping showcase one way to yield environmental benefits and generate new jobs in our rural communities.”

CLT is a prefabricated, engineered wood panel. Manufactured by fusing crisscrossing layers of wood, it is remarkably strong and stable and can utilize smaller diameter trees like those harvested as part of forest restoration treatments. When produced from responsibly harvested lumber, CLT can support both healthy forests and rural, forest-dependent economies.

“These new classrooms, and the promising and innovative product used to construct them, are part of the creative approach we need to address the interconnected challenges we face together in Washington,” said State Representative Jeff Morris.

Governor Jay Inslee cuts the ribbon for the new CLT classrooms with students and leaders in Mount Vernon

“Increasing enrollment, together with implementation of full day kindergarten and smaller class sizes, has taxed our elementary school facilities well beyond their capacity,” said Mount Vernon School District Superintendent Carl Bruner. “Participating in the CLT pilot program has allowed us to be on the front end of a much more durable and desirable alternative to portable classrooms.”

The state’s 2016 supplemental capital budget included $5.5 million in the state building construction account for the pilot project, which in addition to constructing the classrooms will measure how well using the engineered wood product creates efficiencies in the construction process, and achieves other environmental and economic benefits.

Natural wood has been shown to generate positive psychological responses, improving mental and physical health of students. All load-bearing walls in the classroom buildings are constructed from CLT and the material will be left exposed to view from the interior.

“We’ve been building with wood for thousands of years,” said Gene Duvernoy, President of Forterra. “Today is a demonstration of how, with visionary leadership, we in Washington can use wood to meet the needs of the 21st century—from creating more space for our children to learn to growing our rural economy.”

Photos: Governor Inslee talks about CLT pilot program | Forterra President Gene Duvernoy talks about CLT | Rep. Jeff Morris talks about CLTGovernor Jay Inslee, Rep. Jeff Morris, Rep. Dave Hayes, Forterra President Gene Duvernoy, Mount Vernon School District Superintendent Carl Bruner, students and friends pose for the CLT classroom ribbon cutting

More information about Department of Enterprise Services CLT pilot project.

More information about Forterra and to download a guide to CLT.


Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions. Visit

Scroll to Top

Make your impact in Washington today and double your impact.

Hurry before time runs out!

Make your impact in Washington today so that people and nature can thrive together in a place where everyone belongs.

Get your gift in early and double your impact!