Federal Way High School

  • On Dec. 5, 2018, Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) hosted a grand opening celebration to mark the completion of the multi-phase Federal Way High School (FWHS) construction project. This was another exciting opportunity for the community to experience the new state-of-the-art FWHS, and see the new gym and theater, which were completed in the final phase.

    The celebration opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring guest speakers Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell, School Board President Claire Wilson, Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, FWHS Principal Dr. Matt Oberst, Citizens for Federal Way President Greg Baruso, and FWHS ASB President Deija Tupua.

    “Thank you to all who supported the Federal Way High School construction project.”, Dr. Tammy Campbell shared. “Your support allowed us to build a new, state-of-the art, flagship high school, that will serve thousands of students and endure for decades to come.”

    Deija Tupua, a senior this year, appreciates the details that incorporate the memory of the previous building into this new, modern, learning environment. She said, “We’re moving forward, but we’re taking the memory of the old school with us.”

    Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees enjoyed food catered by the FWHS ProStart culinary arts class, viewed student art on display, and participated in student-led tours of the new building.

    The evening wrapped up with student performances in the new theater and the selection of the top three pieces in the student art show, in both the judges’ selection and community selection categories. 

    Oct. 17, 2016 marked the first day in the new classrooms at FWHS. Since then, scholars have experienced learning in an environment designed to help them compete for, and succeed in, 21st century jobs. 

    FWHS senior Japeheth shared, “I do really appreciate those opportunities that we have. A smartboard goes a long way for us. Technology is obviously becoming a big deal for us, so it’s pretty nice to see that we have all these different opportunities.”

    Many members of our community attended the formal ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 21, 2016. Community tours of the new building were also made available in Oct. 2016 and April 2017.

    The grand opening of FWHS on Dec. 5, 2018 marked the completion of the final pieces of this multi-phase project, including the theatre, landscaping, food services, athletic fields, parking lots and gym. 

    The FWHS construction project wouldn’t have been possible without the community’s support. Thank you to voters for helping build our scholars’ futures!

Fall 2018 Update - FWHS Grand Opening!

  • Save the date for the Federal Way High School Grand Opening celebration!

    On December 5, from 4–7 p.m., Federal Way Public Schools will host a celebration to mark the completion of the multi-phase Federal Way High School construction project. You are invited to attend this exciting event, which will begin with a ribbon cutting, followed by community tours of the new facility. Another highlight of the evening will be a scholar art exhibit featuring artwork from elementary and secondary scholars throughout the district. A select number of attendees will also have the opportunity to see performances featuring the rich arts programs from each of our high schools, in the new, state-of-the-art theater. 

    Thank you, voters, for making this new facility possible and helping our scholars prepare for 21st century jobs. We hope you’re able to stop by and celebrate!

  • Federal Way High School (FWHS) scholars, and those across the district, continue to benefit from the enhanced learning environments to help them compete for, and succeed in, 21st Century jobs.

    Most recently, FWHS scholars and staff have enjoyed the newest section of the building containing two gyms and locker rooms, kitchen and cafeteria, utility practice rooms and a new large weight room. Scholars are also using the new health classroom, as well as the AFJROTC classroom. The new 400-seat theater is scheduled to be done by the fall.

    Other site work that has been completed includes:

    • Fast pitch field and turf;
    • The multipurpose field is completed except for the section of track which will be completed when the new tennis courts are installed;
    • The old gym and cafeteria is completely demolished; and
    • Onsite landscaping near the new gym.

    There are still a few areas that will be finished over the summer months including renovating the bus loop, road work along 304th and finishing the upper parking lot. The full FWHS project is estimated to be completed in October 2018. Be on the lookout for an invite to the grand opening celebration in November 2018.

  • Federal Way High School (FWHS) scholars, and those across the district, continue to benefit from the enhanced learning environments to help them compete for, and succeed in, 21st Century jobs. Recently, a representative from Boeing visited the new FWHS manufacturing classroom to observe the work scholars are currently doing, and discuss ways Boeing can continue to partner and improve the manufacturing courses offered in the district to ensure scholars are exposed to current industry practices. 

    FWHS construction has continued through a rainy winter, making progress toward the scheduled completion date later this year. Several advancements have been made since our last update, including: 

    • The baseball field has been completed, just in time for the season. The contractors are completing the work on the multipurpose sports field and will start work on the fastpitch field this spring.
    • The kitchen and dining areas are almost complete, and staff will begin training in the new kitchen so they are prepared to serve meals.
    • The new gym floors and bleachers have been installed. 
    • Moving into the new gym, cafeteria and theater will occur this spring immediately after the last of the original buildings have been demolished. 

    These improvements will provide additional opportunities for our scholars. In the new gym, an entire room is dedicated to Health and Sports Medicine, which will prepare our scholars who wish to pursue careers in this field. There will be a room in this space for the ROTC program, including a large utility room where they can practice drills indoors.

Winter 2018 Construction Update

  • Construction and other project crews continue construction progress on Federal Way High School with the completion date still set for 2018.

    FWHS scholars, and those across the district, continue to benefit from the enhanced learning environments to help them compete for, and succeed in, 21st century jobs. For example, in the new culinary arts lab classroom, scholars are learning how to design menus, manage a kitchen, work in teams, and cater events.

    Many advancements have been made with the next phase of FWHS construction. These include:

    • The turf on two of the three athletic fields is complete. The practice field was expanded to a full-size football field so our teams will have additional space for freshman and junior varsity sports. By using synthetic turf, our teams and physical education programs will have access year round without interruptions and mud. 
    • The new central parking lot will be finished during the last phase after the demolition of the old gym. This will serve our staff and scholars well by being centrally located and closer to the campus.
    • The new gym exterior siding is completed. Scholars will appreciate the oversized weight room and health/sports medicine classrooms. This will allow FWHS to offer courses in sports medicine. 
    • The theater is 75 percent complete with the interior work in high gear, and should be available for occupancy in April 2018. Our drama scholars will enjoy the space as they learn everything from building props to closing the curtains after a performance. The new theater has 400 seats for an audience to enjoy the performances.

    In addition to the many benefits of the state-of-the-art Federal Way High School expanding learning opportunities for FWHS students, the facility also allows for hosting large scale events like STEM Exploration Night. The 2nd annual STEM night is slated for March 14, 2018.

    There will be more opportunities to invite our community to experience the new FWHS, including the grand opening of the theater once completed.

Summer 2017 Construction Update

  • At Federal Way High School (FWHS), construction and other project crews have been hard at work marching towards the slated completion date of 2018, meeting successes and challenges along the way.

    In October 2016, staff and student-scholars moved into the new classrooms at Federal Way High School. Throughout the school year, scholars experienced learning in an environment to help them compete for, and succeed in, 21st century jobs.

    Scholars in the engineering and manufacturing classes get hands on experience using real-world software and tools. They draft designs on the computer, then bring their designs to life with high-tech equipment such as 3D printers, CNC tools, and a computer controlled waterjet.

    A new course at FWHS is the coding/game design course where students are learning different types of computer programming, including game design. The new library is a space where scholars can study, research, collaborate and have increased access to computers.

    Many members of our community attended the formal ribbon cutting ceremony on October 21, 2016. Community tours of the new building were also made available in October 2016 and April 2017.

    In February 2017, over 3,000 students, staff, families and community attended the First Annual STEM Exploration Night at the new Federal Way High School. There will be more opportunities to invite our community and show our appreciation for their support, including the grand opening of the FWHS theater once completed.

    As construction continued while students were learning in the new FWHS, an unforeseeable condition was discovered. Because the FWHS property has been used in a variety of configurations for almost 80 years, a number of abandoned fuel tanks were discovered during construction. Each of these tanks were appropriately treated and removed. One of the tanks however reflected a level of soil contamination requiring significant remediation. The process began to excavate and remove the contaminated soil with the excavation completed in May. Although this caused a slight delay to the construction schedule, it is not anticipated to impact the project’s slated completion date of 2018.

    Many advancements have also been made with this next phase of construction. These include:

    • In the theatre, interior concrete has been poured and that includes the upper and lower seating. The exterior and interior wall structures have been completed. Exterior siding installation continues at the theater radius wall. Stage installation work continues at the theater.
    • Formwork for the gym slab pour is underway at the south interior wall.
    • The grading work has been completed for the baseball, fast pitch and practice fields. The practice field has been expanded to become a full size regulation football field. This provides another available field to be used for various district athletic activities.
    • The work of the commons area (also the cafeteria area) is 85-90% complete, with the remaining portion to be finished when theatre is completed.

    This construction project wouldn’t be possible without our community’s support. Thank you to our voters for helping build our scholars’ futures!

  • Winter 2017

    Posted by Alison Dempsey-Hall on 8/22/2017

    Since the Federal Way High School grand opening and ribbon cutting in October 2016, construction and other project crews have been hard at work marching towards the slated completion date of 2018. As demonstrated in the above photo carousel, many advancements have been made including:

    • Concrete has been poured for the back of the theater seating and steps.
    • Theater electrical installation.
    • Landscaping is complete in the inner courtyard.
    • Demolition of the existing music and science wing is near complete.
    • Excavation continues west along what will be the south wall of the building that will house the gym/athletics space.
    • The new waterjet has been installed in the shop classroom, and it is ready for use. 


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  • Summer 2016-Fall 2016

    Posted by Alison Dempsey-Hall on 8/23/2016 12:55:00 PM

    After construction progressed through the summer,  a fall opening of the new Federal Way High School is anticipated for Oct. 17, 2016.  The opening date has been delayed by six weeks due to delays in construction before the building can be occupied by the school district.

    Although the delay of the new school opening is unfortunate, the district is making the best out of the situation, and is focusing on a smooth transition in mid-October for students, staff and community.

    The considerable differences in the learning environment will be apparent with a focus on access to technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs to support college and career readiness opportunities. The modern, flexible learning spaces in some of the classrooms will focus on STEM-related career fields, including the Career & Technical Education’s (CTE) state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing program. Technology tools such as interactive boards in the new classrooms at Federal Way High School will enhance students’ learning and use of technology.

    Once students and staff move into the building this fall and the portables are removed, the remaining phase of the construction project will include demolition of the old campus.  Construction crews will turn focus to the northern half of the building, primarily including the gymnasiums, food services areas and the new theater.

    The existing gymnasium and food services areas will remain in use while the next phase is under construction. The new theater is slated to open during the second semester of the 2016-17 school year.

    We look forward to inviting the community to experience our new high school in an upcoming tour this fall. The district will be announcing tour dates in the near future.

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  • Spring 2015-Spring 2016

    Posted by Debra Stenberg on 4/29/2016

    By spring, 2015, a footprint of the instructional wing emerged, three sections extending from a base that runs east and west along South 308th Street. Foundations were quickly followed by structural steel, creating a skeleton, an outline of what was to come.

    Then, early in December, 2015, the instructional wing of school began to fill in: First, a roof, walls and windows were put in place. The 308th street-facing exterior was further defined in tan and black brick, creating a subtle zigzag pattern.

    There’s more that can’t been seen from the street side. Facing the courtyard side of the school, metal siding has begun to create a modern industrial look in shades of blue and gray. On the roof, heating, ventilation and cooling units are in place. And inside, plumbing, electrical and ductwork are being woven through walls and along ceilings and floors.

    The building’s construction has flowed north, wrapping around the site and defining the office and library wing along Pacific Highway South, and the student commons and theater. The distinctive egg shape of the theater is becoming more noticeable daily.

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  • 2014-2015: Demolition and Construction Begins

    Posted by Debra Stenberg on 6/10/2015

    After a little over two years of planning, 2014-15 marked the start of the construction phase for the new Federal Way High School, right on schedule. 

    In the fall of 2015, contractors moved 24 double-classroom portable buildings and six modular restroom units onto the campus, then hooked up sewer, electrical and made other modifications to make the portable classrooms ready for teachers and students beginning in January.

    The district doesn’t have spare school buildings, let alone one large enough to accommodate the 1,600+ students that attend FWHS. So, these portables were the key to building the new high school while keeping students on campus. They have provided the bulk of the classroom space through 2015 and 2016. Previously existing science classrooms and shop space, along with second floor classrooms above the existing office area, also provide some instructional space. The gymnasium area and lunchroom also remain in use.

    At the end of December, 2015, the south portion of the school was turned over to the contractor. Since then, they have worked on abeyance — removing hazardous and recyclable material, then demolition.  Late in March, even as demolition of the far south section of the building continued, the layout and installation of the new building’s foundation began.

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  • 2012-2013

    Posted by Debra Stenberg on 1/16/2014

    April, 2014:

    SRG Partnership architecture firm has been hard at work refining the internal layout and  distinctive look that will define Federal Way High School for the coming century. A member of the architectural team recently wrote a warm and insightful blog regarding her experience in working with the staff and students of Federal Way High School.

    On March 19, 2014, lead architects from SRG led the fourth in a series of community open houses to share refinements to the design and plans for providing instructional space while construction is under way.  Community comments were encouraged.

    SRG’s PowerPoint slideshow shared with the Board of Directors in January, 2014, provides a short tour of Federal Way High School, inside and out.  While these are rough conceptual renderings, they give a sense of how the new Federal Way High School will appear.

    The Curriculum Committee continued its work begun over the summer.

    January, 2014: Board work study and regular board meeting

    The architects refined the look of the new school building further to present to the board at the January 7th work study at the ESC, 33330 8th Ave. South, Federal Way, WA. With their approval to proceed, the process of developing detailed plans and seeking permits has continued moving forward.

    October, 2013:

    On October 9, lead architects from SRG led the third in a series of community open houses to share concepts and information gathered to date, and to hear community input.

    Then, in a presentation to the Federal Way Board of Directors later in October, architect Barney Mansavage shared the common themes that emerged from community meetings to date:

    • Make a place – design a campus, not just a school
    • Develop a site that provides security and safety, visibility to the community, planning with existing natural features, and for the future.

    Mansavage provided a look at the basic 3-dimensional footprint of the school as well as photos offering a glimpse at the kind of campus environment that they aspire to create.  

    September 2013: Curriculum Committee

    What will high school programs look like in the coming decades? Since last spring, a group of district staff and students — along with community, higher education and corporate leaders — have been meeting to talk about that very question. This group, the Federal Way High School curriculum committee, soon became deeply involved in researching high school programs around the nation.

    But before they did that, they made sure they had a common understanding of the culture and demographics of Federal Way High School today. They wanted to capture the heartbeat of the school, said Executive Director of Secondary Education Vince Blauser — because equally important to looking at new programs is understanding what makes the school special today, and holding onto and building on that, he added.

    The committee has broken into subgroups focused on specific areas that address 21st Century learning expectations. What they learn will help inform the design of the new FWHS interior configuration. They’ll also contribute to the development and implementation of a short-term/long-term plan that addresses all building and physical plant needs to ensure delivery of programs/curriculum.

    October 2013: Board Presentations

    September 2013: Building Footprint

    The Superintendent’s recommendation is to build the new school in the southeast corner of the campus. The building footprint is shown in brown:

    Campus layout

    April 2013: Site Selection

    SRG, the architectural firm that has led the research and early planning for the new Federal Way High School, presented the superintendent’s recommendation for the site of the new Federal Way High School to the school board on April 9, 2013. That recommendation is to build the school in the southeast corner of the current Federal Way High School campus, and the board gave their unanimous support in the form of a resolution passed at that board meeting.

    This recommendation came after careful consideration of staff, student and community input at several community listening sessions. Using what they heard at those sessions, SRG developed criteria to guide the site selection. A major directive was to design not just a school, but a campus.

    The criteria also included selecting a site that allows:

    • Security and safety
    • Visibility to the community
    • Clear hierarchy of site organization
    • Planning with existing natural features
    • Planning for the future

    Using these criteria and working with district staff, the architects reconsidered the three previously-identified potential sites for the new building on the Federal Way High School campus. They concluded the site that best met these criteria is the southeast corner, with the main entrance facing west toward Memorial Field. “This site clearly stood out as the number one choice,” SRG Principal Architect Jane Hendricks. “We were delighted to hear in a lot of the public comment we got that it was really important for Federal Way High School to have a face and a front on Pacific Highway.”

    Staff and architects also enlisted FWHS community members to get their feedback on the site recommendation.  On April 2, a group of 15 people met with the architecture team. They included FWHS staff members, students and parents of students, a city representative, district security and Federal Way police, a historical society member, and interested community members. They also gave unanimous support to this site recommendation.

    February 2013: Site Selection

    Architects who did the early planning for the FWHS rebuild recommended three potential sites on Federal Way High School property for the new building. Read more »

    A community input session on January 31, 2013, attracted about 100 attendees. Information boards and interactive models gave participants a chance to learn about the three possible sites. Architects and district personnel were on hand to answer questions and listen to input. This input will help form Superintendent Rob Neu’s recommendation to the School Board for the location of the new building. The site decision is scheduled to be made this spring, which will allow the district to do critical groundwork this summer to move the project along.


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Ribbon Cutting and Community Tours

  • October 17, 2016 marked the first day in the new classrooms at Federal Way High School for our student-scholars and staff.

    This construction project wouldn’t be possible without your support. Thank you to our voters for helping build our scholars’ futures!

    We know that scholars need access to modernized learning environments that prepare them to compete for, and succeed in, 21st century jobs. The new FWHS will provide the facilities to do just that. Providing these kinds of learning environments is in direct support of our Strategic Plan Goal 5: Persistence to Graduation: Every student-scholar will successfully navigate the critical transitions in their schooling, and will graduate from high school ready for college, career, and post-secondary experiences.

    The good news is there’s more to come. The next phase of construction at the FWHS campus will include revamping the athletic field and turning the northern half of the building into gymnasiums, food services, and a new theater. The project is slated to be fully completed in 2018.

    Thank you for those of you who joined us October 21st and 22nd for the ribbon cutting and community tours as we celebrated the latest phase of the construction at Federal Way High School! Check out photos from these events below.

The Past Remains Current 

  • As the big work continues on Federal Way High School, small but important details are also being decided. Significant work has been invested in maintaining the historical artifacts of the building, including the eagle embedded in the hallway floor.

    The capstone that marks the entrance to the original high school building will be placed only feet from its original location. It will occupy a place along the walkway that leads from the parking lots into the entrance on the north side of the school. You can own a piece of Federal Way High School's history by reserving a brick from the school's original entrance. Reserve a brick at: http://ow.ly/4mI1UN

    Commemorative plaques dedicated to Federal Way High School graduates who went into military service will be placed next to the flagpole, the closest point to Pacific Highway South. The high school’s Air Force JROTC student-scholars will visit the site daily to raise and lower the flag.


FWHS Building Our Future

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