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Franklin High School

Seattle, Washington

School District: Seattle Public Schools

Number of students: 1,600

Square feet: 230,000

Date completed: 1990


Performing Arts
Performing Arts


2001 Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Award of Merit

Bassetti completed the renovation of this Beaux Arts Seattle landmark in 1990, and we are currently working on a restoration of the facade, 25 years later. The initial restoration included a new performing arts facility at its core, to honor the school’s commitment to the essential role of creativity in the education of young people. Both the arts and architecture are celebrated in the preservation of the existing building and design of a new addition for this inner city school. Once considered the most beautiful school west of the Mississippi, Franklin had fallen into significant disrepair and faced demolition. Following a community effort to save the school, Bassetti led citizens, District staff, and a team of designers and engineers in preserving Franklin and reshaping the campus.

Design requirements were threefold: accommodate educational programs while seamlessly integrating seismic, life safety, mechanical, and electrical upgrades; preserve and seismically stabilize the existing building; and gracefully transition the scale between the landmark school and the adjacent single-family neighborhood. Franklin’s rehabilitation became a national standard, inspiring districts throughout the country to carefully consider the preservation of their landmark schools.

The current restoration includes inspection and replacement of damaged terra cotta units, replacement of corroded steel anchors, pinning with seismic anchors, re-pointing of mortar, and repairs to the cornice to improve drainage and reduce further risk of future damage.