Governor Inslee celebrates four new classrooms built from innovative cross laminated timber 

Governor Inslee celebrates four new classrooms built from innovative cross laminated timber 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.

“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.”

More information about Department of Enterprise Services CLT pilot project.

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

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