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    Historic Lincoln High School Reopens September 4, 2019
    Posted on 08/01/2019
    View of Lincoln High School entrance

    Modernization of Historic Lincoln High School Nearly Complete

    This fall, Lincoln High School is back serving students as a comprehensive high school for the first time since 1981. The school, located at 4400 Interlake Avenue N., Seattle, 98103, is the district's oldest existing high school.

    A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the reopening of this historic school on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at 2 p.m. The event will celebrate completion of the project to modernize the historic building and bring it back into service as a new high school.

    An archival black and white photo of the exterior of Lincoln High SchoolPast

    Lincoln High School opened in 1907 as the population in the Wallingford neighborhood grew. Over the next two decades, Lincoln’s student population increased from 500 to 2,200.

    Growth led to additional construction with the north wing added in 1914 which included an auditorium, library, and gymnasium. The south wing was added in 1930 and provided space for art, music, classrooms, and a study hall. The school’s final addition, on the east side of the school, occurred in 1958 and included a gymnasium, performing arts center and space for career technical education (CTE) classrooms.

    Lincoln thrived until the early 1970s when enrollment began to drop. In 1981, the school closed. The district began using it as an interim site in 1997 to provide temporary locations for schools undergoing construction and to provide space for the district's elementary highly capable cohort for the north end. During this time, the buildings underwent numerous remodels to accommodate the needs of the various schools.


    A photo of the new entrance of Lincoln High SchoolGrowing enrollment in the northern part of the city created a need for an additional high school. Seattle voters approved funds to re-open Lincoln High School as part of the Building for Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy in February of 2013, and the Buildings, Technology, and Academics IV (BTA IV) Capital Levy in February 2016.

    The school will house up to 1,600 high school students. Grades 9 and 10 will be served in the first year with grades added each year as students move up. In the 2021-22 school year, Lincoln High School will have all four grades.

    The original west-side masonry building façade, interior stairwells, and site have been designated as historical landmarks by the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.

    Designing for a New Generation

    Designs for the renovation and additions drew on input from a School Design Advisory Team (SDAT), which met throughout 2016. The principal of Nathan Hale High School and thirteen other teachers/staff of high schools from around the district, seven members of the local community, two Lincoln alumni, and stakeholders from Teaching & Learning and the Maintenance Department comprised the SDAT.

    The project meets the district’s current educational goals as well as providing the flexibility to accommodate emerging educational programs.

    While the existing buildings were under construction, planning for the new high school occurred under the leadership of the Lincoln High School principal. You can learn more about the school, including the mission, vision, and approach, on the Lincoln High School website.

    Modernizing a Landmark

    The exteriors of Lincoln High Schools west buildings have been restored to their original splendor with re-pointed masonry and the replacement of damaged terracotta. The original entrance in the central wing has been preserved but could not be made accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    A new, ground-level glass main entry was constructed at the bridge connecting the north and central wings. This meets both universal access and safety codes by providing a transparent, secure entry with the design sensitively honoring the historic buildings. The result is light and welcoming new entry. Views through the entry highlight the historic building while connecting the old with the new.

    The biggest transformation took place in the north wing. The historic auditorium has been renovated into a 21st century library while highlighting existing details. The ornamental plaster beams and original coffers, previously hidden by a suspended tile ceiling, are now exposed and restored.

    A new two-story commons space in the central wing provides more than a place for eating. It serves as a social space, a presentation space, and a breakout education space that can be used by staff, students, and the community. A new operable glass wall opens to connect the commons with the new, secure student courtyard.

    During the restoration of the west buildings, systems were replaced or upgraded to meet current codes. Energy conservation is facilitated by added insulation, double-pane energy-efficient windows, an efficient heating system, LED lighting with occupancy sensors, and automated building systems controls.

    When the school opens this fall, students and alumni will welcome back a beautiful high school that defines our past and will shape the future of Seattle Public Schools.



    To further enhance the Lincoln High School campus, the 1958 gymnasium and performing arts center buildings will be seismically upgraded, and the theaters will be renovated as part of the Building Excellence V (BEX V) Capital Levy, approved by Seattle voters in February 2019. The design of these improvements will begin this fall with construction anticipated to begin summer of 2021.

    Learn more about the Lincoln modernization project