After several weeks of public feedback, Highline High School project staff, architects, contractors and district leaders have reached a final consensus recommendation on Design Concept 1 for the new north wall of the remodeled school (click image to view larger version): The project team says this design provides the best opportunity to reflect the historic character and essence of the original school within the taxpayer-funded budget. The board will approve the full design for the school as a whole later. As we previously reported, an “Ask the Architect” community meeting held Oct. 19 revealed the final three plans, and the district asked for public feedback by Nov. 1. Click images to see larger versions/slideshow: HHS Design Concept North wall design concept–view from the northwest: The rendering shows the two-story north wall with a rebuilt entry using existing materials salvaged from the original main entrance. The new north wall will use existing brick or new brick matching the existing red brick as closely as possible. Details like the ornamental busts of significant figures will be re-used. The Pirate stained-glass window will be preserved in the main entrance. The new main entrance will be framed by glass panels that highlight the original entrance. The remainder of the north wall will employ red brick and metal with cast stone details reminiscent of the existing building. Existing trees will be protected along the northwest corner of the north lawn. Pathways and landscaping connecting students from the street to the entry will be added. Reasons Here are the reasons the district selected Design Concept 1:

  • Design Concept 1 has broad support from all stakeholder groups who provided feedback, including alumni, community members, families, staff and students.
  • Concept 2 had equal support from alumni.
  • Concept 3 had equal support from students.
  • Half of respondents who expressed preference for either Concept 2 or 3 also noted 1 was their other choice.
  • This demonstrates strong support for Concept 1.
Unexpected soil and masonry conditions increased costs by several million up to $15 million for the various options, from partial preservation of the north wall to full preservation. Unlike other buildings of the same era or earlier constructed of solid masonry, the north wall of HHS is brick veneer (one brick thick) on a wood frame structure. It is not feasible to preserve all or a section of the north wall, even if our budget allowed, due to the significant risk of collapse during the process, which would waste taxpayer dollars. Design Concept 1 is an affordable way to preserve more of the terracotta and fascia of the main entrance. The section of the wall surrounding the main entrance in Design Concept 2 would be more expensive and impact interior walls, office and classroom design. “We are fortunate to have strong community support for constructing a new high school that speaks to both the past and the future. We are excited to move forward with a new Highline High School that meets the safety and modern learning needs of our students, as well as retaining valuable ties to history and tradition,” said Scott Hodgins, executive director of Capital Planning & Construction. The Pirate stained-glass window will be preserved and as much of the terracotta surrounding the main entrance as possible. Terracotta ornamentation and some original brick will be salvaged if possible and used in the design of the new school. The project team has just begun to explore possibilities for including historical pieces and honoring history in the new school. Public Feedback Staff and architects received feedback on the three design options for the new Highline High School north wall from hundreds of stakeholders, including alumni, staff, community residents and students. Design feedback was gathered in the following ways:
  • Capital Projects Oversight Committee, October 11
  • HHS Design Review Committee, October 12 and November 30
  • Ask-the-Architect Community Meeting, October 19 (approximately 50 in attendance)
  • Feedback form (240 responses)
  • Social media posts and comments
Next Community Meeting: March 2018 Another Ask-the-Architect community meeting will be scheduled for March to share further details and progress on the design of Highline High School with the community. Here’s a video we shot at the Oct. 19 meeting that shows the sketches presented and citizen reactions:

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