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SEQUIM, WA — Installation began today on a new modular classroom building made from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) at Greywolf Elementary School. The CLT panels were created from timber sourced from the Olympic Peninsula and were manufactured in Oregon, making the project one of the first in Washington State to use local wood. The design-build team was led by Walsh Construction Co. with Mahlum Architects.
The classrooms are part of a statewide pilot project overseen by the Department of Enterprise Services to address classroom sizes and pioneer the use of CLT in Washington State. Sequim school district is one of five districts having classrooms built from CLT for kindergarten through third graders. Four new classrooms will be open to Greywolf Elementary students at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
CLT is a prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel. Manufactured by fusing crisscrossing layers of wood, it is remarkably strong and stable and can be made in a range of sizes. All load-bearing walls in the classroom buildings will be constructed from CLT and the material will be left exposed to view from the interior. Natural wood has been shown to generate positive psychological responses, improving mental and physical health of students.
“The kids are excited for the new classrooms, and we know they’ll feel more settled in a permanent space made from wood from their virtual back yard.” said Sequim school district Superintendent Gary Neal.
The CLT panels used at Greywolf Elementary were created from locally-sourced timber from the Olympic Peninsula. From the forests of the peninsula to classrooms in Sequim, these classrooms are an example of growing interest nationally in the “Forest to Frame” model—where sustainably-harvested local timber meets demand for local growth, and can spur local economies.
“Today we watch as new classrooms are built for our young people out of a material that has the opportunity to secure a better future for them, and for their community,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer. “Folks in our region don’t want our top export to be young people. The Olympic Peninsula is showing the world that timber towns can be relevant and innovative in the 21st century.”
“This is a win-win-win for the kids, our economy, and the environment,” said State Representative Steve Tharinger. “These CLT modular classrooms demonstrate how we can meet schools’ growing demand for classrooms by providing better, more permanent structures that are also made from sustainable, local, innovative wood products.”
“Seeing our lumber incorporated in this new and exciting material is a good feeling. New market opportunities mean more job security for our families and our community,” said Paul Bialkowsky, Peninsula Timber Manager for Interfor.
“With visionary leadership, we can realize the potential of CLT for our communities and our environment here in Washington. Thankfully, we have an incredible coalition from across the state, from urban and rural communities to the local delegation working to do just this. These pilot projects are an important step to creating a marketplace,” said Leda Chahim, Government Affairs Director at Forterra.
More information about Department of Enterprise Services CLT pilot project.
More information about Forterra and to download a guide to CLT.
Forterra secures the places—urban, rural and wild—that are keystones of a sustainable future for all. Its mission ranges across Washington, from iconic wild landscapes, to working farms and forests, to lands in our cities for parks, the arts, and affordable housing. Our work includes stewardship and restoration projects, often performed by volunteers. We champion policies that marry sustainability and economic development; for example, our efforts on cross-laminated timber.