New elementary relieves overcrowding in Bellevue

New elementary relieves overcrowding in Bellevue

Wilburton Elementary partners with Microsoft’s Flagship School initiative.

Bellevue elementary schools are beginning to feel relief from overcrowding since the opening of Wilburton Elementary.

Wilburton Elementary, named after the Bellevue community it resides in, opened its doors this fall.

Located at the corner of Main Street and 124th Avenue Northeast, the new Wilburton Elementary School houses about 650 students, preschool through fifth grade. It draws students from throughout the downtown and Wilburton areas, relieving overcrowding at Enatai, Woodridge and Clyde Hill elementary schools.

The school was built as part of the 2014 bond measure. It is the first school in the Bellevue School District to be built from the “ground up” since the 1970s.

The 82,000-square-foot facility, designed by BLRB Architects and built by Edifice Construction, takes advantage of the natural slope on the property, maximizes natural light in classrooms and provides additional open learning spaces for small group instruction.

The school also has a playground, an all-weather field and a 41-car drop-off/pick-up line to minimize the impact on surface streets.

Beth Hamilton, the school’s principal, has been on the ground floor in planning and preparing the school since the project was first approved.

She’s served 17 years in BSD and was the principal at Medina Elementary for the past five years. She said she is excited to be the principal for Wilburton because there aren’t many opportunities in education to “build something from the ground up.”

“The opportunity to be able to start from scratch is a dream because you just don’t get to do that,” Hamilton said.

Unlike other principals, Hamilton said she is able to establish new values and traditions for the school and not have to try to conform to previously established customs.

Part of Wilburton’s vision is to support and educate students to be “creators of their world.” For Hamilton, creating a relevant, adaptive and rigorous experience for all students is important to achieving that goal.

“We’re making sure we’re attending to each student as an individual and meeting their needs — whether that’s social emotionally, academically — and really pushing beyond the four walls of the classroom,” she said.

One way Wilburton is going beyond the walls of the classroom is partnering with Microsoft’s Flagship School initiative. The initiative works to collaborate with new schools to help design and provide the best educational technology.

Hamilton describes the school’s relationship with Microsoft as “thought partners.”

“[The school] was built just like any other school in the district, but we have been close thought partners with Microsoft intentionally because they have resources and expertise about education around the world, and we’re in their backyard,” she said.

Educating students is not a competition, according to Hamilton, and she said she hopes the partnership can offer benefits to other students worldwide.

“I’m not trying to be better than anyone else because our kids across the world deserve the best education, and if we can provide a partnership that can share the good things that are going on to help the rest of the world’s kids, that’s the dream,” she said.

Hamilton said it’s been “so special to build a community, build a staff and our work around equity and inclusion.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Aaron Kunkler/staff photoAlvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

From police footage of the Oct. 24 protest. Courtesy photo/Bellevue Police Dept. Twitter Account
Bellevue protest saw no injuries, no property damage as city issued civil emergency

The protest on the Eastside from Seattle organizers made some noise Saturday

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Hilary Franz (left) and Sue Kuehl Pederson
Wildfires, forest health are key issues in race to lead DNR

Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson is challenging incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department
July shooting now believed to be ‘murder for hire scheme’

The ex wife of the victim and two teenage boys were arrested in connection to the shooting

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
State still sifting through thousands of unemployment claims

The recent Lost Wages Assistance program pumped an extra $625 million to Washington’s unemployed.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee (left) and Republican challenger Loren Culp during Wednesday's debate. (TVW) 20201007
Inslee, Culp joust on COVID, climate, crime in feisty debate

In their only televised match-up, the two gubernatorial candidates differed on pretty much everything.

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)
Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Jay Inslee (left) and Loren Culp
Inslee, Culp will meet in only televised debate Wednesday

The two candidates will answer questions for an hour but they will not be on stage together.

Cecil Lacy Jr. (Family photo)
Court: New trial in case of man who told police ‘Can’t breathe’

Cecil Lacy Jr. of Tulalip died in 2015 while in police custody.