Trafton School listed on state Historic Register, Natl Register of Historic Places
August 27, 2008 · Updated 3:34 PM
ARLINGTON The Trafton Elementary School building has been in continuous operation for nearly a century, but it wasnt until this year that it was listed on both the Washington State Historic Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
The members of the Trafton Parent-Teacher Club were thrilled that their school could be placed in the state listing, and submitted for review and inclusion in the federal listing, of significant historic properties, worthy of recognition, at the June 16 meeting of the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Colfax.
After the National Parks Service in Washington, D.C., received the schools nomination from the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation June 24, the Trafton PTC was even more excited to receive word that the Department of the Interior had placed the school on the national listing Oct. 31.
This is just the next piece of the puzzle, said Valerie Kellogg, a Trafton PTC parent who co-chairs the Trafton Gym Subcommittee, which has spearheaded the efforts to update the facility, while still preserving its historical aspects, since January of 2005.
Even as she thanked all of the schools supporters, from community members and local organizations to city, county, state and federal agencies, Kellogg looked forward to the next steps in the process, as the Trafton PTC explores how the schools placement on state and national listings could aid them in securing grants, not only to repair the main historic building of the school but also to replace the portable units with a planned new facility which would include classrooms, a library, a science lab and a gymnasium covering approximately 4,800-square-feet of the structures 6,240-square-foot floor space.
Kellogg acknowledged that the school is working with architectural consultants, as well as representatives from Snohomish County to determine how they might best proceed in accomplishing such construction, whether piecemeal or the whole deal, in addition to maintaining their interests in rehabilitation and restoration.
To balance both of these interests, the Trafton PTC spent the first five months of 2005 meeting with the Arlington School District Board of Directors and Facilities Committee, as well as civil engineers and contractors, to brainstorm their two-pronged approach, of fixing up and keeping up the historic building, while also building a completely new facility that would eventually be adopted to serve the dual goals of their plans for the school.
We wanted to mimic the historic building, right down to the size of the classrooms, in the new facility but we also wanted to reflect the other schools in town, Kellogg said.
The district aided Trafton by bringing in volunteers from the U.S. Navy to spend the summer of 2005 cleaning, painting and stabilizing the structure of the main historic building, before representatives of the Trafton PTC met with Snohomish County Planning, the Snohomish County Historical Commissioners and the Washington State Trust for Historic Preservation, to give their representatives tours of the historic building through the late summer and early fall of that year.
The two-story, four-classroom facility measures 40 feet by 60 feet and still signals its recess periods with a bell tower containing the original bell. Aside from the balcony stairway that was constructed to serve as a fire escape from the upper floor, the original structure remains remarkably intact, complete with cloakrooms adjoining each classroom and a largely original and undamaged glass-fronted bookshelf inside of each classroom.
Because the main historic building can only accommodate the first-through fourth-grades, with one classroom for each grade, portable buildings have been necessary to house the kindergarten and fifth-grade students. While the building originally only taught 41 students in the two rooms on its ground floor, reserving the upper floor for the teachers living quarters, the school now boasts a student population of more than 150 students with other families frequently requesting that their children attend as well.
We have a wait-list of at least 14 kids for our kindergarten alone, Kellogg said. So many people, in this town and beyond, have kept Trafton viable.