Highline Public Schools on Monday (Sept. 25) announced that – after a full evaluation – the technical team has concluded that the front faÃ§ade/north wall of Highline High School is “not stable enough to be safely shored up. An attempt to reinforce would be costly, and it would still be at risk of failing – even with reinforcement.”
Looks like the plan to preserve the entire front of the school – built in 1924 – will not be salvageable. This was decided on by the technical team, which includes the architect, structural engineer, cost consultants, project manager, and Highline capital facilities staff.
When the bond was passed in 2016, the plan called for preserving as much of the school’s faÃ§ade as structurally and financially feasible, as recommended by the citizen-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC).
The Highline School Board and staff say they have always intended to honor that recommendation.
“However, we remain committed to honoring the historic look of HHS,” the district said in a statement. “We have selected Bassetti Architects for this project because of their experience in rebuilding historic schools. The project team will work with Bassetti to honor Highline’s history and to incorporate salvaged materials into the new school.”
The district added that the stability of the north wall and the capability of the soil to support it were not known at the time of bond passage.
“The safety of our students and staff and the stewardship of tax dollars are our top priorities,” the district said. “This is our commitment to our community.”
NOTE: More info on this will likely be shared at the ‘Ask the Architect Community Meeting,’ which will be held in the Highline High School cafeteria on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (225 South 152nd Street).