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Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Old Edmonds High: a place of learning for 9 decades

The original Edmonds High School campus has undergone several incarnations over its 96-year history, serving as a high school, junior high and college. Although the 1909 school building soon will be razed, its 1939 auditorium is being renovated as a community theater.

Edmonds High School, 1909-1957

1909: Construction begins on Edmonds' first high school. James Stephen, the Seattle School District's official architect, designs the two-story brick building in the classical-revival style. Built for $30,000 through a voter-approved bond issue, it stands alone on a 2-acre knoll overlooking Puget Sound.

1910: Three seniors make up the school's first graduating class. The commencement ceremony is held in the nearly finished building.

1921: A growing population requires the addition of two brick wings, also designed by Stephen, on the school's north and south sides. Voters approve a bond measure for the $78,000 project.

1939: A federal grant of $112,500 helps build an art- moderne addition of cast concrete. The $250,000 project, which includes an auditorium and gym, requires ripping out much of the southern wing added in 1921.

1954: A detached concrete music building is added on the campus' southwest corner.

Edmonds Junior High, 1957-1975

1957: A new Edmonds High School opens at Holmes Corner, and the old school becomes the city's junior high.

1961: A concrete gym building is added on the property's northwest corner, obscuring views of the old school from the street. A breezeway connects it to the north wing.

1975: The Edmonds School District closes the school.

Puget Sound Christian College, 1977-2001

1977: The school district sells the property to Puget Sound Christian College.

1986: The school complex is listed on the Washington Heritage Register.

1990: A time capsule is discovered behind the 1909 cornerstone. It contains news clippings, dedication speeches, the school-district colors of purple and gold, and a photo of students.

2001: The college departs from the property, moving first to Mountlake Terrace and then to Everett.

Edmonds Public Facilities District, 2001-present

2001: The Edmonds City Council creates the Public Facilities District (PFD) to study development of a regional arts center. The 1939 auditorium is selected for the center.

2002: The PFD buys the school site, and the district's board of directors approves a plan that includes demolishing the 1909, 1921 and 1961 structures to create room for parking.

2004: A civic activist, Natalie Shippen, appeals the city hearing examiner's decision to grant permits for the PFD project, including demolition of the oldest buildings. The City Council unanimously supports the permit decisions.

2005: Groundbreaking is celebrated for the future Edmonds Center for the Arts, and demolition begins. The $16 million project will include a state-of-the-art renovation of the auditorium.

— Diane Brooks, Times Snohomish County bureau

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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