This People's History of Jane Addams Junior High School 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.
Jane Addams Junior High School
Jane Addams Junior High School was the first secondary school constructed by Shoreline School District No. 412. At the time it was being planned, demographic studies indicated the school would serve all junior high students in the area for a long time. Few foresaw the tremendous population growth in this suburban district.
As Shoreline's major secondary school, Addams was designed as a first-class facility with a capacity of 1,250 students. The Shoreline School Board selected a site that had been part of a farm located across from the Meadowbrook Golf Course. The lower section near (N)E 110th Street was a meadow used for pasturing horses. Scrub trees grew on the hill at the back of the property near (N)E 115th. The site bordered the old Pacific Highway, which ran from Ravenna north to (N)E 110th, turning at 34th Avenue (N)E to continue north past what became the front entrance of the school. The building was meant to serve as a community center for the north end as well, so a fully professional stage was included in the auditorium.
Don C. Keesler was appointed the first principal and continued in that role until 1969. The name for the new school was chosen in an essay contest sponsored by the district. Students were asked to write about various Nobel Prize winners. The winning entry, submitted by Maple Leaf pupil Marlene Mondala, discussed the life of Jane Addams, a noted American social worker who received the Peace Prize in 1931. Addams opened in September 1949 with only 7th and 8th graders. The 9th grade was added the following fall.
Around 1951, an addition was made for boys' and girls' gymnasiums. Within a few years of opening, enrollment at Addams soared to over 2,250, and the student body went to an “overlapping shift” program.
On March 13, 1953, the Seattle School Board passed a resolution approving the joint operation of Addams with the Shoreline School District for the 1953-54 school year. The following year, when Addams was annexed into the Seattle School District, the number of students dropped to 1,200.
The high quality of the school's auditorium was evident when the University of Washington leased it after Meany Auditorium on the university campus was demolished due to earthquake damage incurred in 1965. Nathan Hale, which lacked an auditorium, also staged productions at Addams.
When overcrowding again became a problem in 1972, parents suggested allowing 9th graders to attend Nathan Hale High School, which had been built across the street in 1963. In September 1979, the 9th graders were moved to Hale. Under a long-range plan enacted by the school board in 1981, Addams was slated for closure. From 1980-1983, it housed only 7th and 8th graders, and its enrollment dropped significantly, to 530 students.
A reentry program began at Addams in the fall of 1982 for students who were on long-term suspension or expulsion and seeking readmission. The building closed as a middle school in June 1983. The spacious facility became home to a preschool, daycare center, gymnastics school, the Civic Light Opera, and other tenants.
In 1985, Summit K-12 Alternative School moved into Addams when its site at Colman School was engulfed by the Interstate 90 construction project. Some Summit parents were not pleased by the new location because they preferred to stay in the central part of the city, but Addams offered facilities vital to a K-12 program, such as a gymnasium and science labs. With ample growing space available, Summit has thrived and attracted more students.
Summit competes with other secondary schools in sports and changed its team nickname from the "Slugs" to the "Invaders" about 1990. An enhanced arts curriculum has been developed with the assistance of parent volunteers.
The sports field at Nathan Hale and Addams underwent renovation and expansion in early 2000. The new Hale/Addams athletic complex was ready for the opening of school in September that year and enabled Hale to host home football games.
Name: Jane Addams Junior High School
Location: 11051 34th Avenue NE
Building: 40-room brick and concrete
Architect: Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins
Site: 17.21 acres
1949: Opened in September by Shoreline School District
1951: Addition (Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins)
1954: Annexed July 1 into Seattle School District
1984: Closed; leased
1985: Reopened as alternative school site
Summit K-12 @ Addams in 2000
Address: 11051 34th Avenue NE
Colors: Blue and gold