Remodel of Puyallup High School in 1994

Evan Archer

 Puyallup High School’s main classroom building went through a major renovation from June 1993 to September 1994.  

This renovation forced the whole main building of campus to be closed and fenced off. Because of this, classrooms and the cafeteria had to be moved to portables and other local buildings, while the administration and office were held in a trailer. Forty-seven portables were rented and placed on the field for students to hold classes.   

Linda Quinn was principal at PHS during the remodel and says that the configuration of the building was a topic of conversation. 

“We jokingly said that year PHS stood for Portable High School instead of Puyallup High School,” Quinn said. 

Quinn is currently the superintendent of Fernsdale School District in California. 

Programs and events had to be scheduled at different venues, such as churches, the fairground and other schools. For some, this would be their last year in high school, so the administration tried to make it one of the best years that PHS has ever had. 

“We made a commitment that it would be the best year ever for the kids who were going to school that year. Realizing for some kids that this was their only senior year or only junior year,” Quinn said.  

Since the building was closed off, students and faculty had much more time to enjoy the fresh air outside while moving from class to class. This remodel was brought on because the building needed to be upgraded to meet the new codes for structure and safety.  

“The life of a school building is generally thought to be 30 to 50 years,” Quinn said. 

 The architectural firm who was behind the renovation Burr Lawrence Rising + Bates was later awarded the Historic Renovation – Citation Award for their efforts. The administration first tried to plan a way to keep the students in the building. This would have been accomplished with a staged renovation, but that would have stretched the renovation for over two years.  

When the construction was finished, it was a wonderful sight for both teachers and students to come into the following year,“ Quinn said. “Moving into the building was a positive experience for those who didn’t graduate. It was really beautiful 25 years ago.