New Robert Frost Elementary to inspire young students

The 99 brightly-colored aluminum butterflies

The 99 brightly-colored aluminum butterflies will greet children at the main entrance of the new Robert Frost Elementary building in the Kingsgate neighborhood. The building will open Sept. 1 for the first day of school.

Construction workers and staff were putting the final touches on the school Thursday and Friday.

The butterflies are just a piece of the interior of the building intended to inspire the students through Frost’s poetry.

The butterflies come from Frost’s first published poem “My Butterfly.” Other poems brought to life throughout the new building by architect Dennis Erwood and his team from Seattle-based design firm Studio Meng Strazzara are “Pod of the Milkweed,” “Birches,” “Mending Wall,” Hyla Brook” and “The Road Not Taken.”

Pod of the Milkweed, one of the poets last works, is cast in bronze on the floor of the lobby.

In eight different locations both inside and outside of the school, excerpts from Frost’s poems are sandblasted into large stones.

Charles Dent, the trustee of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, N.H., donated a number of branches from the farm’s last remaining sugar maple tree to the school. These trees were the inspiration for the poem “Tree at My Window.”

The building also utilizes natural light, including two story window walls in the auditorium and in two of the hallways.

A bronze bust of Frost graces the entryway window to the library. And a large covered outdoor play area was designed for those rainy school days.

Frost Elementary is part of Phase 2 of Lake Washington School District’s overall modernization program. Voters approved $436 million in bonds in 2006 to pay for the program. The new facility was built behind the old facility and broke ground in June while students were still in school last year.

Planning and design began in 2006.