Denny International Middle School (DIMS) was constructed on a site next to the existing Chief Sealth International High School (CSIHS). The District’s primary goal was to provide students with a personalized learning path from 6th–12th grade to decrease high dropout rates triggered by middle schoolers switching campuses. The overarching design theme of the project is celebrating connections between the two schools, the community, a multitude of cultures, and the environment. The project goals addressed the need for the new middle school by creating co-joined facilities that promote both kinship and individuality.
Drawing input from parents, staff, students, and the community Bassetti designed a campus where aesthetics and learning work together to build brighter futures and instill community pride. To support the District’s desire to develop academic excellence, DIMS is designed around grade-based learning clusters, each with its own science lab and adaptable breakout space. The new Galleria at the center of the campus offers maximum flexibility, supporting separate or joint school functions, and accommodates student services, large gatherings, lunchtime activities, and community events. The new building is terraced into the sloping site, emphasizing the school’s connection with the earth. A rainwater collection sculpture, green roof, natural ventilation, and excellent daylighting make DIMS a sustainability role model.