Signals AZ

Prescott Unified School District Moves Offices Into Former Washington School Building

Previously Longest Running Elementary School in Arizona Becomes Prescott Unified School District Offices

It has been nearly three years since the last elementary school child walked out the doors at Washington School on 300 E. Gurley Street in Prescott, officially closing the book on the longest running elementary school in Arizona. However, that wouldn’t be the final note in the landmark building’s history.

After the community voiced their desire to keep the building, the Prescott Unified School District decided to move their offices into the building, to go along with a pre-school that has been operating on the property since the elementary school shut-down.

Hundreds gathered on Tuesday, May 1st, at the former site of Washington School as the historic building became the new Prescott Unified School District offices. (Photo by Torrence Dunham / Signals)

“This was an answer to the community that said we want to keep that school,” Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard said following the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, May 1st. “It just made sense.”

Since it was decided the former historic school would house the district offices, a small renovation has been taking place. Howard said the floors were redone, new LED lighting was installed and the inside received a new coat of paint. Furthermore, Howard said some old classrooms remained intact as conference rooms, while others were split into workstations.

Howard mentioned 11 people are in a former classroom that now serves as the business office. All in all, Howard said the improvements did not cost much money as the building was recently renovated in the 80’s along with the asbestos being previously removed in a former building update.

“This was a nice opportunity to say this is how we can make this happen and maximize it for the staff that we have right now,” Howard said.

Admittedly, Howard mentioned he wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in his new space as he is constantly out visiting schools and talking with children across the district. When Howard is in his new office, he will be greeted with a dynamic view and the sounds of children enjoying the pre-school playground below.

“To have them (pre-school kids) right here in this place keeps it real all the time,” Howard said. “I can look out my window and see the kids playing and I can also see Prescott High School off in the distance at the same time.”

“That’s pretty symbolic for me,” Howard continued.

Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli, who was formerly the Prescott Unified School District board president and still serves on the board today, is thrilled to see a major piece of Prescott history continue to be in operation after some hard decisions had to be made as the district right-sized.

“It’s a big day to celebrate our school district, our teachers and our staff,” Mengarelli said. “It’s great to have this re-purposing and revitalizing of Washington School…it really represents the great tradition that we have in Prescott and our value for education in our city.”

“Everybody in our community will be proud of this building,” Mengarelli continued.

The new location provides the district an eye-catching location that is still close to historic downtown Prescott.

“Way more exposure here on Gurley St, it’s kind of a gateway into the downtown area,” Mengarelli said. “We’re very excited about the visibility and opportunity we have to show off our district being in this building on this busy street.”

Gracing the front of the building is a large sign indicating where the Prescott Unified School District offices are located. Howard and his staff are hoping the district offices stay as long as the elementary school it replaced.

“We put this big sign up and I stood back with my team and said that’s going to be here when we are gone,” Howard said. “That’s nice to be thinking about a legacy because this building is nothing but a legacy.”

Howard believes the sale of the former district office building on North Granite St. will be coming soon.

Check out the full ribbon cutting and a small tour produced by Prescott Media Center

Photo Gallery by Torrence Dunham / Signals


Follow Signals on Facebook to get the latest local events and updates:

Subscribe to the Signals Newsletter, events, entertainment, info & news right to your inbox! SUBSCRIBE

If you like this story, consider subscribing to Signals Updates, Entertainment Events & News!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.