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The New PPMS is Officially Open and Worth the Wait
Erin Zacharda

In the heart of downtown Monroe, hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered with staff to officially celebrate the grand opening of the modernized Park Place Middle School (PPMS) on Tuesday, September 4.

In the heart of downtown Monroe, hundreds of students, parents and community members gathered with staff to officially celebrate the grand opening of the modernized Park Place Middle School (PPMS) on Tuesday, September 4.

PPMS Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The new Park Place Middle School, home to roughly 760 students, has been under construction for the past two years. The new facility features more square footage, collaborative spaces for staff and students, better security, all-weather athletic fields and track with lighting, a new auxiliary gym and a renovated main gym. The cost of the project to date is roughly $62.4 million.

The modernization project came after voters approved a $110.97 million bond in April 2015 to modernize Park Place, partially modernize Salem Woods Elementary, expand Frank Wagner Elementary; construct new ball fields at Monroe High School; expand Hidden River Middle School; and complete a variety of other safety and facility upgrades across the district. The district also received more than $20.8 million in state construction assistance for these projects.

During the opening speech at the PPMS ribbon cutting ceremony, Principal Terry Cheshire called the new building "world class" and thanked the Monroe voters for demonstrating how students and education are valued in our community.

Cheshire continued, "I don't have the right words to say thank you enough to our community. To see the excitement on our kids faces as they walk through the doors of the new building, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

He went on to thank his staff for continually ensuring students had a positive learning environment in the midst of a large-scale construction project. He commended students for their flexibility in adapting to the many challenges they faced during the two year construction project - from navigating reconfigured walkways to enduring random power outages and alarms to participating in P.E. outside no matter the weather conditions.

Originally built in 1974, the site was the former home of Monroe High School until 1999 when it became Monroe Junior High. Soon after, grade levels were shifted at schools and the school was renamed Park Place Middle School when it began serving students in grades 6-8.

Quote on wall in PPMS hallway

Adorning the hallway wall as you enter the building is a quote by Davis Hutchinson that captures the very essence of the school: "The journey of our past has led us to the present and will educate us for the future."

During the design process for the new facility, input from staff, students and parents clearly indicated that it was important to honor the school's rich history by incorporating pieces of the past into the new Park Place.

With this input in mind, architects from Integrus Architecture and contractors from Cornerstone Construction skillfully worked to blend the old with the new. Which is apparent in many of the details throughout the school. Some of these details include pieces of the old gym floor lining the walls of the renovated gym and athletic wing hallway, the large mural seen in the main entry hall and commons, and the plexiglass window in the wall that showcases the interior structure of the walls where the old gym connects to the new building, emphasizing how the future connects to the past.

"It's really clear the students who are here now are ready to pick up and set history in motion into the future, and fill the school with some great leadership and great memories that we will be talking about for generations to come," concluded Dr. Fredrika Smith, Superintendent of Monroe School District.

Project Details

Location: 1408 West Main Street, Monroe WA

Square Feet: 129,893 (nearly 20,000 square feet larger than the old facility)


  • 32 classrooms, grouped together into smaller pods surrounding common learning spaces to allow for staff and student collaboration
  • New resource room, library, main office, commons, kitchen, band and choir rooms, performing arts stage, locker rooms
  • Deck off of the library containing a "living green roof" of succulent plants
  • 197 parking spaces - an increase of 53 spaces from the past
  • All-weather synthetic turf athletic fields and track with lighting
  • Fitness room
  • Auxiliary gym
  • Completely renovated main gym
  • Outdoor covered play area
  • Outdoor courtyard
  • Rain-activated water feature

Funding: Total cost to date = $62.4 million (roughly $46.95 million from the community-approved bond and $15.4 million from state construction program assistance dollars)

  • Bond Updates
  • Monroe School District News
  • Park Place Middle School News