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University Heights Elementary School opens in the University District in September 1903.
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In September 1903, the University Heights Elementary School opens in Seattle's University District. The architects are the firm of Bebb and Mendel, and they base the design on one by architect James Stephen. Pupils attend grades one through eight. In 1907, James Stephen himself designs a 13-room addition, which opens in 1908. The building is a Mission Revival style.
By 1909, the year of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and the related growth of the University District, more than 500 students were in attendance. By 1924, enrollment had grown to more than 800 pupils. In 1927, seventh and eighth graders were transferred to the new Marshall Junior High School, which relieved crowding.
Then, the trend began to reverse. During the 1930s, enrollment gradually declined. By the end of the 1930s, enrollment was down to 400.
The school's proximity to the University of Washington brought children of university-associated parents from around the world, and in the 1960s, the school developed its own multi-ethnic curriculum. However, the changing demographics of the University District, increasingly a neighborhood of college age people and not families with young children, continued to reduce enrollments.
The Seattle School District began questioning the efficacy of the continued operation of the University Heights Elementary School in 1976. It closed in the early 1980s. As of 2001, the historic building is used not as an elementary school but as a community center.
Patricia C. Erigero, Seattle Public Schools: Historic Building Survey (Seattle: Seattle Public Schools and Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority, 1989), 185-190.
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