Stewarding our historic site: Brick Building electrical study

Stewarding our historic site: Brick Building electrical study
By ana-maria

By Eric Jusino, Facilities Director

In fall/winter of 2020, as part of an ongoing project to assess the capital needs of our Phinney Center location, we worked with CASE Engineering to conduct an electrical assessment and documentation update of our 1917 Brick Building at 6615 Dayton Ave N. The work was funded by 4Culture’s Preservation Special Projects grant.

Our original plan was to do a more comprehensive capital needs study, but due to financial pressures brought on by COVID-19, we opted for a smaller study that could be entirely grant-funded and be integrated into a larger study later.


Why did we do this study?

The Brick Building (historically, the John B Allen School) was built in 1917 and was maintained, renovated, and upgraded by Seattle Public Schools until they closed the building in 1981. PNA leased the building from 1981 until we bought the site in 2009.

During that time, and through to the present, the building has undergone a number of changes as SPS made some seismic upgrades, and PNA added capacity, reconfigured the spaces, and installed major accessibility improvements in 2016.

Lots of people, including staff, neighbors, volunteers, and contractors (in case you were worried about a volunteer-installed elevator  🙂 ) worked on the building over its entire lifespan so far, and we didn’t always write everything down before moving on to the next awesome project to serve our ever-changing community.

electrical panel list

scary wire

In order to make maintenance projects easier in the present and, more importantly, to enable planning for the future of our spaces and programs, we needed more information on the electrical systems in the building.

What we did

PNA staff worked with CASE Engineering (thanks for the referral, SHKS!) in fall and winter of 2020 to create:

  • A detailed condition report including an assessment of the electrical system and any deficiencies
  • Updated drawings/documentation of electrical system
  • Rough order of magnitude estimates for the repairs/maintenance/upgrades

updated electrical panel

map drawing of electrical

What’s next?

PNA’s Site Committee and staff will use the electrical study results to help plan long-term and short-term projects, as well as to inform budgeting and fundraising.


4 culture logo

Case Engineering Logo