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Finch Elementary lands spot on historic register

Wed., March 9, 2016

Finch Elementary School was given a place on the Spokane Register of Historic Places on Monday by the City Council.

A $22.5 million renovation and expansion of the school was completed in early 2015.

The City Council’s vote completes a full listing for the school on local, state and national registers.

It had been placed on the Washington Heritage Register in October 2013 and the National Register of Historic Places in January 2014.

The school, initially completed in 1924, was named after John A. Finch, an early-day mining investor and philanthropist. The school expanded in stages through 1946.

Its neoclassical entry came from renowned architect Julius Zittel.

The main entrance has two flanking Tuscan columns next to broad, brick piers, which hold large wrought iron light fixtures.

Elaborate terra cotta tile decoration adorns the entry along with diamond-shaped transom-light windows and a pediment crown with a scrollwork wrapping around a book, the nomination form said.

Flanking the book on the lower part of the molded terra cotta crown are the words, “EDUCATION IS THE APPRENTICESHIP OF LIFE.”

The original structure was followed by two Zittel expansions in 1926 and 1930.

Architect George Rasque continued expansion in 1946, retaining the original motif, but adding art deco features to the auditorium, according to the historic nomination form.

The 2014 addition along the west side of the school added 13 classrooms and expanded the gym in a design that fits in with the historic character.

The project also modernized the historic portions of the school, restored historic features and enclosed the former U-shaped layout to create an interior courtyard.

Jim Kolva, who wrote the local register nomination, said school officials mistakenly thought that putting the school on the state and national registers would automatically confer local register status. The two processes are separate from one another, he said.

Historic Preservation Officer Megan Duvall discovered the oversight when she joined the Spokane preservation office shortly after the state and national register listings, he said.



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