This People's History of Columbia Annex is taken from Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 by Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr. That book, published in 2002 by Seattle Public Schools, compiled profiles of all the public school buildings that had been used by the school district since its formation around 1862. The profiles from the book are being made available as People's Histories on HistoryLink.org courtesy of Seattle Public Schools. It should be noted that these essays are from 2000. Some of the buildings profiled are historic, some of recent vintage, and many no longer exist (new names and buildings not included in these profiles from 2000 have been added), but each plays or has played an important role in the education of Seattle's youth.
Rainier Vista School was built in 1943 with federal funds at the Rainier Vista Housing Project for wartime workers, who were mostly employed at Boeing. It was leased to the Seattle School District in September 1944 when it opened. The children attending during that first year were in grades K-1, and most lived in the project apartments. The district purchased the site after the end of the war.
Additionally, the federal government built an annex as an emergency building to care for pre-school children of working mothers during the war. It was used as a nursery school until August 1948 when the program was discontinued. The building was then leased by the district as part of Rainier Vista School.
From 1946 to 1964, the grade configuration was K-2, except in 1949-53, when it was K-3. In 1960-61, all five rooms in the main building and annex were in use.
Since the school closed in 1971, it has been used for Head Start offices and to provide space for four Head Start preschool classes. That program moved to Wilson in June 2000.
Name: Rainier Vista School
Location: 3100 S Alaska Street
Building: 3-room wood
Architect: Holmes & Bain
Site: 1.75 acres
1944: Opened as annex to Columbia in September
1947: Purchased by Seattle School District in July
1948: Nursery building leased
1951: Nursery building deeded to Seattle School District
1955: Renamed Columbia Annex on February 23
1971: Closed as a regular school in June
1971-2000: Used for Head Start