Community Post

CD Rewind: Walla Walla School

The ex-CD residents at Vintage Seattle have focused their talents on the Walla School, aka Mann School, which until last week was home of the NOVA alternative program. In addition to a great testimonial to the current school from a NOVA parent, they dug up a Seattle Schools document that gives the history of the structure:


  • Opened as the Walla Walla School in 1902 to relieve overcrowding from TT Minor, with elementary students in 12 rooms
  • Was built according to James Stephen’s “Model School” plan, which included provisions for a never-realized addition on the north side
  • Was renamed the Mann School in 1921 to honor Horace Mann, the “Father of Free Fchools”
  • The school’s harmonica program was interrupted during WWII because harmonicas weren’t manufactured
  • Reached a peak enrollment of 596 in 1965-66
  • Closed as an elementary school in 1968
  • Became an alternative school in 1970

The NOVA program is moving to the Meany Middle School building in Miller Park for the 2009/2010 school year. (2009/2010… can that be right? yikes…)

For more photos, see the great post at Vintage Seattle

0 thoughts on “CD Rewind: Walla Walla School

  1. Great post at VS. I can not say enough about the manor in which this building has served Nova and other SPS programs. Summit, closed this year, was housed at Mann from ’77-79. The district has given Nova a few extra days to complete packing and moving- we’ll be out on the 30th at the latest. If you want to see the building before the district locks the doors, let me know.

    And while I’m commenting, let me just be clear that the district acted in poor faith, ethically and legally, in closing both Mann and TT Minor. Still, Nova students, staff and families, with support of the Alternative School Collation, hope to come through this move with their program intact.

    As an aside, with both these schools closed, any news on where neighbors will be voting?

  2. In regards to voting, King County will now be mail ballots only, like the remainder of the state (except Pierce County).

  3. I would like to see the inside of the school before the doors are locked.

  4. We can still save Nova from the chopping block and maybe manage a few more graduations that might not happen without Nova. This is a sad time in the history of this school. And they say we care about our kids education?

  5. Today’s PI has a story about allowing new uses for 8 of the district’s closed buildings, including TT Minor and Mann/Nova “without convening a special committee.” I don’t want to see these building sitting empty, but wonder about the rapid repurposing. Have there been plans in the works for a while now?

  6. Funny story. I say funny because the School District ought to understand the code by now.

    A SUAC can cut both ways. It usually happens when the district decides to surplus the property. It can either end up with a more ‘attractive’ property due to additional permitted uses, or it can backfire. Or, after the MLK School SUAC everyone decided that it was a waste to end up with basically the same set of permitted uses.

    Bottom line is that if the building is torn down it reverts to the underlying zoning.

  7. kt- you seem to understand more of this process than I- and reading various district documents isn’t aiding my clarity. Anyway, it sounds like there has been a “Land Use Code Interpretation” for Mann, TT and other schools. What I don’t know is if/how/why the SUAC can or would be beneficial to our community. I’d love to hear from people who know more- including any thoughts on appealing the interpretation. The appeal deadline is July 9. So, while I’d like these buildings to remain schools- I’m equally dedicated to ensuring they continue to serve a public good. The thought of Mann being torn down is appalling- it’s not a real possibility, is it?

  8. I really don’t know more than having sat through a SUAC process as a citizen. The person from DPD kept reading the sections about ‘uses permitted outright’.

    Looks to me like the SPS is trying to understand it’s options. It would take a lawyer to really read and understand the laws, but all those references are to language in the SMC

    What I found really interesting is that they seem to be responding to questions having to do with if it would be ok to have commercial on the first floor and housing on the upper floors, or to have housing.

    These are uses within the existing building that they are mostly talking about. The only way to keep it from ever being torn down would be for people to go after historic preservation status.

  9. I’d like to see a larger community center like Phinney Ridge, it’s in an old building similar to this one. For the high density population in this neighborhood, our community centers are way too small. It’s right across from the community center on Cherry, so it would be perfect!

  10. I’d really rather see tne Mann building remain NOVA, it’s proximity to Garfield lets the students interact, but Kathleen is right, the Garfield community center is very small for the density of this neighborhood, and there would be plenty of space to expand in the Mann building. Above all, please save the beautiful historic building.

  11. Wow! I attended Horace Mann Elementary School in the 1950’s and observed it through most of its subsequent incarnations. It’s interesting how as we get older our lives become part of a larger history.