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    Seattle Public Schools' process for designing and building schools is summarized below. An overview of requirements for historic landmarks preservation and permitting is also provided, along with links for more information.

    Architect Review and Selection 

    The Capital Projects and Planning Department evaluates and selects architectural and engineering firms for school projects with a panel of judges. A typical panel consists of the department's executive director, program and project managers, school principal, city representatives, and other facilities managers from outside the district.

    Educational and Design Standards

    The School Design Advisory Team (SDAT) participates in a series of meetings to align the school's transformation plan with a program-based design that meets the unique needs of each school's learning community.

    Design and Construction 

    1. Schematic Design - The architect's basic services begin with the architect consulting with the district on project requirements and preparing schematic design studies consisting of drawings and other documents showing the scale and components for the district's approval. The architect first must participate in the School Design Team process described above to gather feedback from the school and community.
    2. Design-Development - The second part of the architect's basic services is when the architect prepares drawings and other presentation documents to fix and describe the size and character of the entire project as to architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical systems, materials, and other essentials as may be appropriate. The architect also prepares a statement of probable construction cost.
    3. Construction Documents - This is the third part of the architect's basic services. It is when the architect prepares working drawings, specifications, and bidding information.
    4. Design-Build Construction - This is the fourth part of the architect's basic services when a prime or main contractor bids or negotiates to provide design and construction services for the entire construction project.
    5. Construction - The fifth and final phase of the architect's basic services includes the architect's general administration of the construction contract(s).

    Historic Landmarks Nomination

    The landmarks phase designates facilities of historic significance, and consists of the following steps:

    • Landmark nominations submitted to City Historic Preservation Officer
    • Nomination hearing before the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
    • Public hearing is nomination is approved
    • Landmark designation
    • Seattle City Council approval
    • Option for owner or Board to appeal

    For complete information on the landmark process, visit:


    • Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections issues permits for projects in Seattle involving new or changed uses of property, construction projects, and other building and design elements
    • Two major types of permits include land use (Permits assure structures meet zoning requirements and comply with environmental regulations, such as the State Environmental Policy Act) and building (Permits that provide reviews of the structural and fire/life safety elements of projects, based on the 1997 Uniform Building Code), which may be applied for separately or together
    • Most Seattle Public Schools projects require major permits such as Land Use and Master Use Permits (One of the final steps to be completed before work begins on any construction job is the issuance of the Master Use Permit (MUP) and the set of conditions or requirements that apply to that project, as well as a variety of smaller, construction-related permits)