New Academic Building for Annie Wright Upper School for Boys Opens

Tacoma, Wash. – A new state-of-the-art academic building to house Annie Wright Schools’ Upper School for Boys program opened Wednesday, August 28, 2019, for the start of the 2019-20 school year. The building, with flexible and innovative spaces, brings a modern element to campus while honoring Annie Wright’s architecture and traditions. An official opening ceremony followed by tours will take place on Friday, September 6, at 8:15 am. Mayor Victoria Woodards will formally open the event. Community members and press are invited and welcome. 

The 26,000-square foot building, designed by Mithun and built by Absher Construction Company, features university-level science labs, a large meeting hall, an all-school “Idea Lab” for design projects, and a variety of learning spaces filled with flexible layouts and abundant light. While primarily for high school boys’ academics, the building is open to all Annie Wright students and will also host community events. 

The Upper School for Boys revives part of the vision of Annie Wright Schools founders Charles B. Wright and Bishop John Adams Paddock, who opened a brother school to Annie Wright Seminary in 1886. The Great Depression of 1892 caused many boys to leave school to go to work, and the school was forced to close that year. One hundred and twenty-five years later, in 2017, Annie Wright Schools brought back a brother high school, launching with 17 boys in Grade 9 in rented space downtown. Since then the program has more than tripled in size, with students now in Grades 9, 10 and 11. Next year will be the first with students in all four grades, and the student population will eventually grow to 120. 

“The new building embodies the pioneering spirit of our founders, who believed that education was central to the future of our city and region,” said Head of Schools Christian G. Sullivan. “I was excited and impressed by the plans, but the reality of the new building far exceeded my expectations. I am thrilled by this student-centered space and can’t wait to see all the different ways our students will gain inspiration here.” 

Annie Wright has been engaged in other construction projects, including a nature play space for younger students which is now open and an additional gym and swimming pool, which will open in October. 

Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer co-ed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for boys and girls offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.