PROJECT DETAIL

McMenamins Anderson School

School Campus Converted to Hotel

Built in 1931 as Bothell Junior High School and later renamed W. A. Anderson School, this former educational campus joined the ranks of properties refurbished by famed Northwest hotel and brewpub entrepreneurs, the McMenamins brothers. Located near Seattle in the City of Bothell, this project preserved an important piece of the community’s identity and spurred other revitalization efforts. When McMenamins purchased the then-vacant Anderson School, they retained Artifacts Consulting to prepare a local landmark nomination for the campus as well as a Special Valuation tax incentives application.

The McMenamins are known for their creative remodels and incorporating local history into the character and artwork of their properties, making each one a unique destination. At Anderson School, they sought local landmark status for four of the five existing buildings on the campus. Rehabilitation costs on these four buildings were eligible for the Special Valuation tax incentive program, making the project more cost effective. The four eligible buildings included the 1931 main school building plus three buildings added in 1959. Although a 1970s indoor pool building was not eligible for the tax incentive, it received new life and is an integral part of the property. The three 1959 buildings on the campus, included in the tax incentive work, originally served as the cafeteria, gymnasium, and industrial arts and science labs. Today (2015), they contain the hotel reception, multiple bars and restaurants, event spaces, a movie theater, and a brewery. The school district’s former swimming pool building has a new pool and a Tiki-themed bar.

Throughout the three year project, Artifacts provided guidance to McMenamins’ architects and contractors in order to navigate the requirements of the Special Valuation program. We also shepherded the landmark nomination through the local register listing process. The school officially became a historic landmark for the City of Bothell in 2013.

While Artifacts documented the architecture of the buildings along with their general context, historians on staff with McMenamins pursued numerous human interest stories associated with Bothell and the school in particular. Many of the hotel rooms are named after former students, staff, and celebrities who grew up in the area. For example, Senator Patty Murray attended the school in her youth and is now featured in some of the artwork, as are Chris Walla (formerly of the Seattle band Death Cab for Cutie), Roger Fisher (co-founder of the rock band Heart), and W. A. Anderson, former principal at the school.





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Historic view of Anderson School
Historic view of Anderson School

Southeast corner view of the school after the 1941 addition, courtesy of the City of Bothell.

Site map
Site map

Aerial view of former school campus included in the local landmark nomination. Buildings are outlined in solid black line; landmark boundary marked by dashed line.

Before...
Before...

Pre-rehabilitation view of the main school building interior.

... After
... After

Post-rehabilitation view of the same stairwell and former principal's office, now a small bar.