Lincoln High School: 2020 Beth Chave Best Rehabilitation Award

Congratulations to the Lincoln High School Project Team!

Owner: Seattle Public Schools
Architect: Bassetti Architects

Construction Manager: CBRE/Heery; Contractor: Lydig Construction; Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen; Mechanical Engineer: Metrix Engineers; Electrical Engineer: Hargis Engineers; Cost Control: RLB | Robinson; Landscape Architect: Cascade Design Collaborative; Civil Engineer: LPD Engineering; Acoustical Engineer: Stantec; Hardware Consultant: Adams Consulting; Food Service Consultant: JLR Design Group

About the Project:

Lincoln High School, a Seattle Landmark and the city’s oldest high school, first opened in 1907 to accommodate the rapid growth in North Seattle that came with the streetcar extension to Wallingford and relocation of the University of Washington campus. 113 years later, another wave of growth called the historic school back into action.

The building has been altered several times over the years. A north wing designed by Edgar Blair, the second school district architect, was added in 1914 and contained an auditorium and two small gymnasiums. A south wing designed by Floyd Naramore, the third district architect, was added in 1930 for art, music, classrooms, and a study hall.

The final major alteration of the 20th century, an International Style addition designed by NBBJ in 1958, accommodated physical education and performing arts programs but was a significant departure from the building’s historic context.

After a decline in enrollment in the 1970s, Lincoln High School closed in 1981 and was leased out for community use until 1997, when it began to be used as an interim site for schools under construction. The multiple users, haphazard remodels, and deferred maintenance left the building in very poor condition.

Like the 1914 and 1930 additions, the goal of the 2020 rehabilitation was to support modern educational needs while celebrating the rich contextual heritage of the landmark building.

The restoration of Lincoln’s exterior included tuckpointing, cleaning, and waterproofing of the brick cladding, along with terra cotta and sandstone repair and replacement.

New additions were sited to minimize impacts to primary facades while rotting and rusting fenestration was replaced with new, historically referential windows. The historic landscape, crowned by 100-year-old beech trees, was also preserved and revitalized. Interior renovation included complete system upgrades (seismic, life safety, mechanical, electrical) along with adaptive re-use of the building layout to support six learning communities surrounding a centralized student commons. Surviving historic interior elements (stairways, drinking fountain, alumni room, artwork) were also preserved.

The result is a school – which reopened to students in Fall 2019 – that provides outstanding learning settings while instilling pride in the preservation of a community landmark. The Beth Chave Best Rehabilitation Award honors Seattle Public Schools and the project team for their preservation efforts, made possible by community support from school levies and the neighborhood for embracing the renovation of its historic legacy.

Historic Seattle established the Beth Chave Historic Preservation Award in 2013 to honor our friend and colleague who served as the Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator for the City of Seattle for 25 years. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of historic preservation. Beth Chave (1955-2012) left an indelible mark on the city’s historic built environment. Her work with professional colleagues, landmark and historic district property owners, and neighborhood advocates throughout Seattle has left a legacy of honoring and protecting historic places in our communities.