Gray Middle School

Tacoma, WA

Mahlum Architects
Tacoma School District

Creating Spaces Conducive to Learning and Expression

Gray Middle School is a new, two-story, 115,000 square foot school with approximately 750 students in grades 6-8.  The $29,000,000 building is designed to Washington Sustainable School Program specifications using durable, non-toxic materials and utilizing natural light wherever possible.  The school features outdoor learning areas, rain gardens and beautiful views of Mt. Rainier.  The new school, which opened in January 2009, won an AIA Washington Council Civic Design Merit Award.


Architectural, mechanical and A/V design services were requested for the facility, including the gym, classrooms, commons, stage, music room, counselor’s room, conference room and principal’s office.  The entry way and hallways required good speech intelligibility so conversation would be possible without excessive amplification that would become intrusive to sensitive adjacent spaces. Commonly used gypsum board would not address this properly.


The new building, including the gym, classrooms, commons, stage and music room received acoustical treatments that complimented the design and planned activities for each space.  Low maintenance fiberglass panels and acoustical metal decks were blended seamlessly into the design and mitigated heightened noise levels in the entry way and hallways.  The principal’s office, conference room and counselor’s office were designed with speech privacy in mind.


Mahlum, deeply rooted in the Northwest, is an architectural firm dedicated to celebrating community identity, kindling connections to the earth and building neighborhood vitality.  In our years of business, SSA has been invited to provide acoustical design recommendations for over a dozen commercial and education projects including K-12 schools and university buildings.