By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Almost 30 years after Seattle Public Schools stopped using EC Hughes as a full-time elementary school, it will return to that status this fall. A September 4th ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially open the Sunrise Heights campus (7740 34th SW) as Roxhill Elementary at EC Hughes.
But first, the $14 million renovation project is wrapping up.
Back in October 2016, when plans were being finalized both for the Roxhill move and the Hughes renovation, we toured the historic school – a city landmark – with Seattle Public Schools’ Mike Skutack and DLR Group architect Ariel Mieling. We previewed the renovation plan in our report on that tour.
This week, we toured EC Hughes with them again, to see how the work has turned out. It’s not entirely done, but close. Throughout the building, as promised, there is homage to the past as well as new features for the future:
That’s one of the many old doors that have been repurposed into tackboards.
But let’s get back to the entrance:
It’s the most dramatically changed part of the building, with spaces for everything from the offices, to visiting families, to the health clinic, to specialists who’ll be working with some of the students. Mieling had shown us the plan during our October 2016 tour:
And now it’s come to life – pending the arrival of students and staff, of course. Windows and light played a major role in the renovation – preserving the historic windows in the original 1926 Hughes building, replacing the windows on the 1946 addition on its south side (top photo), highlighting skylights on the top floor:
High ceilings were preserved everywhere possible, including classrooms where they’re now anchored by fans:
Classrooms also have “smart projectors,” a step up from the “smart boards” that represented the newest teaching technology in earlier local overhauls and rebuilds:
Also upgraded and replaced – the kitchen equipment:
It’s mostly a “warming” kitchen, as the actual cooking is done at centralized district facilities. But it remains right off the lunchroom/performance area, which is lighter and brighter:
New features there include lighting – stage lighting, too – and new heating equipment. You’ll notice that the pre-existing wood remains in many spots – here’s the library:
Along the staircases, original child-height handrails were preserved even as up-to-code ones were added:
The steps will be resurfaced, by the way.
Some things were removed – like the old hallway lockers. Some things that will stay are the portables left over from the campus’s time as home to Westside School (WSB sponsor). And this vintage 1940s clock that’s now in the office:
Its inner workings reflect the bell times of 70 years ago:
As we’ve been reporting, the campus also holds a new community-built playground; the hardscape near it was to be resurfaced starting earlier this week, the day after we toured on Tuesday. The contractor reached the “substantial completion” level one week ago, Skutack and Mieling told us, and now it’s time for finishing touches, as well as doublechecking and triplechecking. Overall, they say the project is on time and on budget. And when you go see it, look closely – even the historic masonry has been cleaned up.
WHAT’S NEXT: The September 4th ribboncutting – open to all – is scheduled for 11 am, according to a district document; we’re expecting a more formal announcement later in the summer. Meantime, as reported here earlier this month, Roxhill Elementary’s old home will be used for a section of the Interagency Academy alternative high school as well as several special-education programs. In the distant future, Hughes could be a candidate for an addition if the district needed more capacity; at one point this project was tentatively expected to add room, but it was ultimately planned as a simple renovation.
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