Lincoln High School Modernization
Owner: Seattle Public Schools
Lead Design Firm: Bassetti Architects
General Contractor: Lydig Construction Inc.
Civil Engineer: LPD Engineering
MEP Engineer: Metrix Engineers; Hargis Engineers
Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Owner’s Representative: CBRE Heery Inc.
Lincoln High School is both the oldest and newest operating high school in the Seattle Public Schools. The original four-story structure in north Seattle was constructed in 1906 and is a registered historic landmark. But after 42 remodels and additions during the building’s history, what was once a single building had become a 194,000-sq-ft, five-building campus with a vast range of documentation covering decades of work.
The fall 2019 reopening of the school showcased a complete renovation and modernization. The project expanded the building to 257,200 sq ft, added seismic reinforcement, replaced windows, reworked the facade, installed new technology, modernized interior spaces and repurposed instructional areas.
The team employed a construction manager-general contractor delivery to allow for early collaboration and to do exploratory work, thus reducing possible schedule impacts from the site’s many unknown conditions. The contractor created an early bid package to bring the mechanical subcontractor on board early, which saved time and reduced costs.
The contractor also implemented a buckling restrained braces system for seismic reinforcement of the historic structure. That required destructive and non-destructive testing, 3D scanning and field measuring early in the process to meet the schedule.
While parts of the school were completely modernized, crews salvaged many historic components. As part of the transformation of the auditorium-turned-library into a modern library-media center, the original coffered ceiling was exposed and windows hidden for nearly 70 years were uncovered. Wrought iron gates, exterior brick facades, interior stairwell railings, porcelain water fountains, original offices and other historic components also were restored.
Instead of simply demolishing the structure and building an entirely new structure, the project team created a modern-day, technologically advanced education center with landmark status and many original components, thus preserving its historic character and community value.