Alexander Hamilton Intermediate School opened in 1927, and was Seattle’s first intermediate school. Today, Hamilton International Middle School programs integrate international cultures into multiple aspects of the curriculum, and emphasize team teaching and community involvement to develop key concepts within multiple subjects.
Coordinated with programs at John Stanford International School (K-5), Hamilton students take at least one foreign language class per day, and immersion programs offer students multiple subjects in a foreign language. In January 2009, the decision was made to place approximately half of the middle school Advanced Placement Program (APP) at Hamilton beginning in fall 2009.
Innovation in the design of middle schools has led to the creation of small learning communities within the middle school - clusters of classrooms where students spend most of their day. Hamilton’s design concepts will split each grade, 6th, 7th, and 8th, into two “houses” - individual four-classroom learning communities where students will spend most of their day throughout the year.
The learning communities model creates stronger bonds between students and teachers, allows for more interaction among teachers, and helps students make the transition from elementary school classrooms to a school day with multiple instructors. This is a best practice model that supports students in academic achievement.
The renovated Hamilton will house two performing arts classrooms, a recording studio, and a suite of practice rooms. One performing arts room, at nearly 3,000 square feet, is large enough to house small performances. The other performing arts room is a 1,200 square foot room attached to the stage. The suite of practice rooms adjacent the stage contains three individual practice rooms, one small ensemble practice room, and a sound control room.
There is seating for performance audiences at the stage for 300 people, with student assembly space in the new gym with seating for 1,000. The new building also has a fine arts classroom, a digital arts computer lab, and a technology gateway lab (a combined computer/engineering lab and shop).
Uses and functions common to all students will be housed on the first floor, with a large commons that will function as both lunchroom and auditorium. At the same time, the existing exterior of the building (both the three-story main building and the small gyms to the north) will be preserved during the remodel.
Hamilton was designed by Floyd Naramore, a prominent school architect, and is the prototype for several other Seattle schools. Many of Seattle’s historic school buildings were designed by Naramore during his tenure as school Architect for the Seattle School District from 1919 to 1932.
In 1973, the Seattle City Council adopted a Landmarks Preservation Ordinance to safeguard properties of historic and architectural significance around the city. The Seattle School District recently nominated Hamilton as a historic landmark to the Landmarks Preservation Board, based on its contribution to the 1920s character of the neighborhood, its significance as the first intermediate school building in the city, and the architect’s contribution to Seattle’s architectural history.
School functions for the entire student body, as well as sports competitions, will be accommodated by the new gym, with accompanying locker rooms and a physical fitness facility. The new gymnasium and public gym entry will be at the level of Densmore Avenue, and the new playground is at the second floor level, accessed from the second floor and the gym.
June 2008 – Students finished the school year at Hamilton
July 2008 – Construction began at Hamilton
September 2008 – Hamilton school year began at interim site at Lincoln
September 2010 – Hamilton school year begins in the newly remodeled Hamilton building