The character and charm seen throughout the campus of the Washington School for the Deaf are evident in what will soon be its oldest academic building.
Why does its elementary school — Northrop Primary — have two shades of teal-colored tile throughout the halls? What’s behind the nearby underground tunnels that lead to the Washington State School for the Blind? And how many people have encountered the ghost alleged to frequent Northrop’s basement?
“There’s a lot of little quirks about the buildings on campus,” said Shauna Bilyeu, superintendent since 2016 and previously its elementary principal.
Some narratives are forever cemented at Northrop, which opened in 1953. The interior tile may have faded on one side over the decades, but if the state has its way, the building never will fade.
That’s because a nomination was accepted last week to have the two-story elementary school listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Washington Heritage Register. It’s part of an agreement with the state Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation to preserve a building that fits the post-World War II, mid-20th-century aesthetic.