The Morgan Middle School building is a treasured landmark in Ellensburg. Built in 1929, the school was considered “luxurious” and “technically modern” in its day within a community more familiar with rural, one-room schools. Though the building was renovated in the 1960s and 1990s, in recent years, the structure experienced chronic pain from decades of use and environmental wear and tear. In 2012, the school was listed as an endangered property. Subsequently, plans were made to not only revamp the beloved original building, but to fully reconstruct earlier renovated portions.
The project includes sustainable restorations to the historic section of the school and the addition of two symmetrical wings that flank the original 1929 façade and define the courtyard entry. To complement the existing structure, the additions incorporate simple, large scale window openings and intermediate mullions that do not compete with or detract from the original historic architecture. New exterior materials consist of red brick and light-colored precast concrete. The mix of contemporary material and old cast stone represent the passage of time, evolving technology, and multigenerational building strategies and techniques.