James Baldwin Elementary

Project Overview

Northgate Elementary, renamed as James Baldwin Elementary, is a phased school project in the rapidly evolving Northgate neighborhood that seeks to provide family-welcoming, safe, equitable, and joyful spaces that connect students and staff to nature and provide a sense of belonging in a neighborhood with a greater proportion of low-income families and diversity. Serving Kindergarten through fifth grade students, the new school is scheduled for construction to be finished in 2023-24.

The landscape site design features “Pathways of Discovery” to enhance outdoor learning with a series of outdoor classroom spaces, nature play, terraced rain gardens that treat stormwater from gym and commons roof, amphitheater, soft-surface play areas, gardening areas, a new play field, and a bike garden with neighborhood-specific elements and traffic signals that allows for students to learn how to bike safely in their neighborhood.

A large entry plaza at the northeast corner of the school creates a park-like entrance with grass mounds, trees, and a circular gathering space with seating and accent pavers that embraces the neighboring community and gives the project a unique identity. Directly at the main entrance is a “Porch” area with multiple benches to foster connectedness and a sense of welcome and belonging for the school community. The project also prioritized saving existing maples along Corliss Avenue and 120th, which are much loved by the community and will provide a mature canopy for the project upon completion and opening.


Seattle, WA


Seattle Public Schools

Design Partner

NAC Architecture