In an effort to secure TT Minor Elementary School as a key part of its plan to reshuffle programming around the central neighborhoods of the city, Seattle Public Schools has nominated the 1941-built building to be a historical landmark. The landmark proposal for the 18th and Union school, prepared and submitted by Seattle architecture firm The Johnson Partnership, is slated to go before the Landmark Preservation Board on May 7th.
According to the nominating document the original TT Minor, which is no longer standing, was the first public school in the Central District. When the school was rebuilt, SPS’s architects say the school became a model for future construction:
The design of the 1940 portion of the school reflects the adoption of Modern ideas of cleanliness and functionality. Before World War II, a few school designs were responding to the ideas of the modern movement, striving for clean rational functional spaces. These buildings set the stage for the boom in new modernist schools built after the war.
Seattle schools pursues landmark status for all of its buildings that are at least 25-years-old, a schools spokesperson tells CHS.
“Seattle Public Schools self nominates every building that meets the minimum qualifications to be a Seattle landmark,” the representative said in an email. “We do this to be proactive regarding the landmarks process and to have control over our project schedule and timeline.”
The bid comes amid plans to relocate the Seattle World School to TT Minor in 2016. While the landmarks board will consider the building’s history, SPS is primarily interested in TT Minor’s future as an integral piece to big changes in central neighborhoods to accommodate rising enrollments.
TT Minor is currently home to a private school that plans to relocate in 2015. At that time, SPS will start a $14 million overhaul of the building so that the Seattle World School can make TT Minor its permanent home starting in 2016.
The Seattle World School is currently located at the Meany campus near the Miller Community Center, which is slated to reopen as Capitol Hill’s middle school in 2017. Meany is also currently home to the Nova Alternative High School, which will move into the Central District’s Horace Mann school next year. The impending Nova move forced several Africatown community programs to leave Horace Mann so construction could begin, a situation that ended in a controversial police raid of the Central District building in November.
Citing rising enrollment numbers in Central Seattle elementary schools, a neighborhood group formed last year to support reopening TT Minor as a neighborhood elementary school.
The reopening of Meany will also mean central Seattle’s elementary schools, including Lowell and Stevens, will begin feeding into the new middle school campus in 2017.