Amanda Keller-Konya  
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Colman School,
Seattle, Washington (1909 – 1985)

|  School's Out, Forever?  |

After serving school children for over 75 years, Colman School closed.  The building became increasingly less functional as it continued to age.  In addition, the city’s population of school-age children has been and continues to decline resulting in low student enrollment.  After the school’s closure in 1985, several community members sought the building for an African American museum.  When the mayor broke his commitment to develop the museum, community activists overtook the building, occupying it for over 13 years resulting in the longest act of building occupation civil disobedience.  In 2006, over 20 years after the museum’s original conception, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle began renovations.  The school illustrates the common dilemma of what is to be done with a school building once it is closed.  School districts hesitate to sell property, resulting in abandoned buildings, which begin a cycle of neighborhood deterioration.




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