Hillside Development Project


Hillside concept design and master plan update

In 1999, and later in 2008, the PNA produced and updated a master plan that addressed the full block that the Phinney Center occupies, with a particular focus on the hillside between the Blue and Brick buildings. Though the plans were good, PNA found itself with other organizational priorities: primarily accessibility within the buildings themselves. In 2012 and 2015/16, we ran major projects to make the Blue and Brick buildings ADA accessible.

In 2017, we began to re-evaluate the site master plan, taking into account various code changes and getting a project estimate in modern dollars, as well as ideas for phasing the project so that we could implement it.

Check out the 2018 Master Plan update and Hillside Schematic Plan [PDF]. PNA is figuring out next steps, and will update this space when we have more information.


Project goals

We began the process with a few goals:

  • An accessible connection from the upper level Blue Building and parking lot to the lower level Brick Building and parking lots
  • Gathering spaces accessible to PNA programs and the community
  • Opportunities for all-ages and multi-generational play


Project constraints

There are a few constraints that we’ve got to work with, as well:

  • Our hillside is classified as a steep slope, and therefore is subject to a different set of regulations (and requires more geotechnical engineering) than a flat piece of land
  • Seattle’s has rolled out more stringent stormwater management requirements since the last master plan update


Project retrospective

Spring 2017: Hiring a landscape architect

We started the process in spring 2017 by forming a volunteer Hillside Committee (mostly members of PNA’s all-volunteer Site Committee) and putting out the call for Statements of Qualification from landscape architects interested in the project. We ran site tours with representatives various firms and interviewed the three teams we thought would be best for the project. After much deliberation, we chose to work with Johnson + Southerland (J+S) on the project.

Summer 2017: Public engagement and draft plans

J+S and PNA spent the summer on public engagement. We had three public meetings, tabling at two Farmers’ Markets, several meetings with programs at the Phinney Center, and ran an online survey. J+S used that data to come up with three design schemes that would help us refine our ideas and get more feedback from the community.

Fall 2017: Community engagement to refine the plan

We returned to the community with the schemes J+S created and checked back with various groups who use the Phinney Center, including preschool co-ops, after school programs, Greenwood Senior Center attendees, and the public at large with postings of various plans, a Facebook survey, and lots more conversations with people from various walks of life and levels of involvement with PNA. We completed the second round of public engagement in December 2017.

Winter 2018: Finalizing the plan

J+S incorporated community feedback into a final design. They dug into technical considerations so they could give PNA a detailed feasibility study with a clear idea of project costs and ideas about a Phase 1 that we could accomplish in the near future.

Spring 2018: Sharing the new site Master Plan and Hillside Schematic Plan

Here’s the final design:

2018 Master Plan update and Hillside Schematic Plan [PDF].


We have a plan, so now what?

We’d love to say that we’re digging into the hillside this summer, but it’s a massive project among a bunch of other projects, opportunities, and challenges at PNA. This is a strategic planning year for the organization, and we’re going to be looking at the hillside in context of all the work that PNA is doing in the community. We’re going to figure out how we can break the project up into phases that we can accomplish, plan out how to fund those phases, and get to work on making the Phinney Center more accessible, more hang-outable, and more fun for our diverse community.

In the meantime, we’ve got a great opportunity to enhance the Phinney Campus’ play space for the public and for our programs. In 2017, we received funds from King County’s Youth and Amateur Sports Grant to fund capital improvements that reduce barriers to access to physical activity, improve health outcomes, and reduce health disparities. Thanks, King County!

We want to use the award on projects that increase movement play opportunities (movement play is great for both physical and mental development) for people of all ages on our site. Keep your eye on this space, and we’ll update you as we get news.


We want to hear from you!

We would love to hear your feedback on the Master Plan and Hillside Schematic Plan. Contact Eric Jusino, Facilities Director, at [email protected] or 206.783.2244.