New Windows and Doors at Franklin Thanks to Voter-Approved BTA IV Capital Levy

Franklin High School has a fresh look, thanks to new exterior windows and doors. But the appearance is just part of the upgrades that were completed in February 2021. The metal clad wood windows greatly improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort, and the doors improve safety and security.

“It’s important to address issues that disrupt the educational process for our students,” said Richard Best, Director of Capital Projects and Planning. “Ensuring comfort and safety helps us deliver on the strategic plan goal of creating a warm and welcoming environment to enhance student learning.”

Franklin High School was built in 1911, had additions in 1925 and 1958, and a major renovation and addition in 1988. Thirty years later, windows were failing, which was creating weather-related damage, temperature control issues, and safety concerns. In some windows, the single-pane glass was not secure in the frame and many windows had broken hardware. In addition, many of the window frames were rotting, compromising their structural integrity. Exterior doors were also in poor condition and needed to be addressed. Finishes and seals had deteriorated, multiple keys were necessary, and some door locks no longer functioned properly.

Drew O’Connell, Franklin’s principal, is a Franklin High graduate, so he knows the problem with the windows and doors from the perspectives of both an administrator and a student.

“It’s very hard to focus on academics when you are cold and just trying to stay warm,” said O’Connell. “With the old windows and doors, you could almost feel a breeze. Now classrooms and the rest of the school buildings warm up more quickly and stay warm longer.”

Franklin High School is a registered landmark, so the district gained approval from the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to replace windows and doors instead of restoring them.

Project work began during the summer 2019 and continued during the summer 2020. A 3-dimensional scan of the building helped match window shapes and trim profiles to the existing windows. Door replacement followed the window work and was completed earlier this year. Transom windows over the doors, with their historic mullions, were restored instead of replaced.

Paint scrapings and historic photos guided the choice of exterior colors — off-white windows and green on the doors and restored transoms — a return to the original colors of the school. The window interiors are wood with a clear finish, adding warmth to the classrooms not seen with painted windows.

“The new lighter-colored windows really pop,” said O’Connell. “The old windows were painted dark green. Now, when you drive past, you can really see the difference. New windows and doors signal the district’s commitment to Franklin. Our community —both students and staff — feel more valued as a result of this investment.”

All windows open four inches, allowing for ventilation while also preventing human access. New shades reduce glare and improve safety in instances where it might be necessary to block views from outside. All door hardware works and lock/unlock with a master key. Card key entry is installed on some doors for staff use, and the school office can control who enters the building during school hours. Safety glazing on all ground floor windows and doors meets new district standards, protecting both the windows and the occupants.

“The investment in new windows and doors not only improves energy efficiency and occupant comfort, but it also protects and preserves our school buildings so they can keep serving our students,” said Best.

The window and door replacement project at Franklin High School was funded by the Building, Technology and Academics IV Capital Levy (BTA IV), which was approved by Seattle voters in 2016. The 2013 Building Excellence IV Capital Levy (BEX IV) funded refurbishment of the exterior masonry, including restoration of the historical terra cotta façade, and replacement of the roof in 2014 and 2015.

(Seattle Public Schools, July 24, 2021)