11-20 DSHS Report to the Legislature

11-20 DSHS



In 2011, the Washington State Legislature authorized funds to the Department of Social and Health Services to consider options for future use of the Yakima Valley School. As authorized by the Legislature, options may include the permanent use of the property to support housing, other services for low-income, disabled, or vulnerable persons, or other uses. The report that outlines these options will be delivered to the Legislature by December 31, 2011.

Traho Architects provided site assessment and facility evaluation as part of a team whose members included planning, engineering and economic/cost benefit analysis experts. Activities to complete this project included project initiation, site analysis, public outreach, consideration of reuse options and preparation of a report. Project goals, decision making criteria and the range of re-use options were reviewed in a series of client and public workshops, with work products identified for each task.


The reuse options will be analyzed for feasibility and cost benefit. Considerations included in the review and analysis are:

  • Local/Regional/State Benefits
  • Community Input
  • Near-term Uses that Make Use of the Site Facilities, Unique Character
  • (Hillsides, Trees, Views) vs. Those That Could Locate Anywhere
  • Employment Potential
  • Financial Benefits
  • Fulfillment of State Missions
  • Neighborhood Compatibility
  • Longer-term Uses Which Would Occur when Renovation Costs Exceed the Value and/or Life of the Buildings

Originally developed as a tuberculosis hospital in the mid 1940's, the Yakima Valley School is situated on an 18 acre site. The original 60,000 SF main building was augmented with three clusters of nursing facility residences, totaling seven 6,700 SF cottages. The site is configured in several terraced areas linked by an access road and walking paths. 280 employees support various DSHS functions, including the care of 80 developmentally disabled permanent residents and 16 short term stay residents. The Legislature Report will present as is, short term and long term future uses.


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