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    Daniel Webster School Construction Complete
    Posted on 12/04/2020
    New entry in addition

    Daniel Webster School Construction Complete

    Historic school building to return to service as new home for Licton Springs K-8 School

    When Seattle Public Schools returns to in-person instruction, Webster School will once again open its doors to serve students. The landmarked school building, located in the Ballard neighborhood, has been completely renovated and modernized with an addition providing space for a new gymnasium. The school is designed for up to 360 students in grades K-8 and includes three kindergarten classrooms with toilets.

    Licton Springs K-8, an option school, is moving into Webster School during the month of December. According to Emily Butler Ginolfi, the school’s principal, a renaming process is scheduled to begin in early 2021. Students and family members will help select the new name. The building itself will continue as Webster School.

    cornice detail and entry skylight

    Constructed in 1908, Webster School served as an elementary school through 1979. An addition in 1930 provided an auditorium, library, and play courts. The Nordic Heritage Museum leased the building in 1980 and remodeled many rooms to house exhibits. The museum ended its lease and moved to their new facility in 2018, providing the district with the opportunity to bring the building back into service to address student enrollment growth.

    “Seismic retrofits for earthquake safety were a primary part of the construction project to ensure a safe learning environment,” said Richard Best, the district’s director of Capital Projects and Planning. “The historic brick building was constructed of unreinforced masonry, so extensive upgrades were necessary to bring the facility up to the current seismic safety code.”

    You can learn more and see a video about the seismic upgrades here.

    As a historic landmark, care was taken to protect key features of the original buildings. The Seattle Landmarks Board designated various parts to be preserved including the exteriors of both the 1908 building and the 1930 addition, the 1930 meeting room/auditorium, the 1930 library, and the halls and stairs of the first and second floors in the 1908 building.

    windows and historic beams in Webster lunchroom

    Webster hallway with historic wood floors

    “It’s amazing to think about what this building has experienced over the past 100 years,” said Brian Fabella, the district’s project manager for the Webster construction project. “You can still see a lot of the history through many of the details that have been preserved.”

    lunchroom stage with historic Proscenium

    Historic materials were removed and carefully stored before construction began and then later reinstalled throughout the designated areas. Portions of the building’s windows were removed and restored. In other areas, replacement windows were constructed to mimic the historic windows and provide the thermal performance of modern windows. 

    windows and tables in renovated library

    “Construction methods and materials have changed a lot since 1908,” said Eric Becker, the district’s senior project manager for this effort. “A lot of work went into repairing and restoring the exterior cornice on the 1908 building.”

    The addition includes the new gym and a new main entrance to the school. Most of the building upgrades are hidden but will be greatly appreciated by students and staff alike. New, modern electrical, heating and ventilation, and plumbing systems ensure comfort and safety.

    new gymnasium addition at Webster school

    Throughout the building, technology systems provide support for education in a digital era. The renovated and expanded school has a total of 52,000 square feet: 44,000 in the historical building plus the 7,700-square-foot addition for the new gym and entrance.

    “I really appreciate the significance of the school as it relates to Ballard and the history of Ballard,” said Becker. “It’s satisfying to know we have a building that fits really well into the neighborhood while meeting the needs of the school community.”

    historic entrance

    According to Fabella, former Webster students still live in the area. “We had a few neighbors stop by and tell stories of when they were students at Webster long ago,” he said.

    This project was funded by the Buildings, Technology, and Academics IV Capital Levy (BTA IV) approved by Seattle voters in 2016. Progress photos can be viewed on the project webpage. Information about Licton Springs K-8 School is available on the school website.

    A virtual ribbon cutting will be held in January to celebrate the completed project and the relocation of Licton Springs K-8 School.