Vernonia K-12 School

Vernonia, OR

Vernonia K-12 School

Vernonia, OR

The school is beautiful and highly functional with its many multi-use areas. It represents Vernonia's vision for the future and has quickly become the heart of our community.

Kenneth Cox, Superintendent

In December 2007, the small town of Vernonia, Oregon was devastated by flooding that destroyed the high school and severely damaged the middle and elementary schools. Bora worked with the community leaders to pass a bond measure, select a site and design a new K-12 school on higher, safer ground.

In order to deliver this large project, Bora helped the district augment bond funding by nearly $20 million dollars from public and private partners. We developed a compelling design that combined resilience, sustainability, local materials, and community-focused spaces, and shared this story at countless meetings and donor events.

Every child and community member enters the school through the welcoming front door. We organized shared spaces into a long spine that contains offices, media center, cafeteria, drama, and covered play porch (which is essential in an area where it rains more than half the year). Extending from the center are four instructional pods, organized by age and curriculum.

The project achieved LEED Platinum with low-tech and passive solutions. Our team used extensive daylighting analysis to design the classrooms and worked with industry partners to develop a bio-mass boiler powered by wood pellets. Even though the new building is larger than the schools it replaced, the energy bills are 40% lower.

Inspired by Bora’s efficient design, the school created a new curriculum to focus on natural resources. The superintendent also reports that attendance rates have increased noticeably, which we consider the greatest measure of success.




AIA Portland People’s Choice Award
2013 Newsmaker, Daily Journal of Commerce
Excellence in Concrete, American Concrete Association, Portland Chapter
LEED Platinum certified


Lango Hansen

MKE & Associates

Green Building Services

Halliday Associates
Kittelson & Associates

Altermatt Associates

The Façade Group

Intergral Group