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St. Thomas School

St. Thomas School hired Seneca Group to oversee the development of a new, 55,000-square-foot facility, playground and playfield as well as the demolition of existing school buildings. The project also included the construction of tenant improvements in a Kirkland Office Park for a temporary facility for the school during the year of construction.

The client hired Seneca to provide leadership to the project. The goal: bring the architect and contractor teams together and guide them to a successful conclusion that met an unchangeable deadline (the start of the new school year) and stayed on budget as well.

The vision for the project was to create a state-of-the-art sustainable school; therefore, expertise in navigating the multifaceted LEED® certification process was critical. Seneca Group, with a LEED® accredited professional heading up the project, was able to provide leadership in selecting the right certification features that would earn the most points while still keeping the project on budget.

The project also involved demonstrating to donors that the school was exercising good stewardship of dollars spent. Seneca Group’s involvement lent assurance and credibility to the project, which was a key factor in successful fundraising.

Another concern involved potential disruption to St. Thomas Church, with which the school shares a parking lot. The church effectively serves as a community center for the surrounding Medina neighborhood with many community groups using the facility. It was important that Church operations continue uninterrupted during the demolition, construction and move of the school. Seneca Group’s careful coordination with the Church successfully minimized impact to their operations.

St. Thomas School became the first school in the state of Washington to achieve LEED® Gold certification under the LEED® for Schools Rating System, and earned ENERGY STAR® certification as well. Sustainable building features included passive ventilation in the classrooms, radiant heating, and high efficiency equipment and lighting.

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“The Seneca Group has a magical touch! Our project was complex, with a very short time line. Despite the many changes and decisions along the way, we completed the project under budget and on schedule. The Seneca Group dedicated a great deal of time and energy into the financial side of the project.┬áThat’s where they brought a lot of horse power. They’re highly professional, very detailed and articulate. We would absolutely hire them again.”

Kirk Wheeler, Ed.D.
Head of School, St. Thomas School

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