Jan 31, 2017 - Public hearing on landmarking of Providence Heights set for Feb. 23
Jan 17, 2017 - Letter to the editor | All of Providence Heights is significant, not just the chapel
Jan 5, 2017 - Providence Heights campus to be nominated for landmark status
Aug 30, 2016 - Letter to the editor | Wake up and see the history tied to Providence Heights
Aug 29, 2016 - Editorial | Whatever it takes, school district must preserve Providence Heights chapel
Aug 23, 2016 - Letter to the editor | Do the right thing at Providence Heights
Aug 8, 2016 - Before eminent domain vote, school district offered $28 million for Providence Heights
Jul 20, 2016 - School district moves forward with condemnation of Providence Heights Campus
Jul 13, 2016 - Issaquah School Board approves use of eminent domain to acquire Providence Heights property
Jul 5, 2016 - Why preservationists see historic importance at Providence Heights
Jun 29, 2016 - Issaquah School District to consider using eminent domain to acquire Providence Heights campus
Jun 21, 2016 - Providence Heights owner The City Church owes back taxes on the property, state audit finds
Providence Heights College and Provincialate was founded in 1961 as a response to the Sister Formation Conference. Started in the 1950s, the Conference initiated an intercongregational effort to enhance the professional lives of religious women. Activities of the associated "Sister Formation Movement" included promotion of college education for sisters. Providence Heights College was one of only two institutions in the nation established at that time specifically for this purpose.
Noted regional architect John S. Maloney designed the college campus, continuing his status at the time as the go-to architect for the Seattle Archdiocese. The buildings total roughly 220,000 square feet and include classrooms, an auditorium, offices, dormitories, a pool, a gym, and a chapel. The campus is a remarkable union of multiple educational, residential, and spiritual buildings, that used the finest contemporary materials available, with deft Mid-Twentieth-Century styling and bold engineering. The campus’ robust architectural statement was as forward looking as the educational reforms it housed. The chapel, in particular, was exemplary in its use of Modernist devices and architectural motifs and remains the region’s only application of a gambrel roof with elongated A-frame clerestory. The chapel windows are also notable having been created by Gabriel Loire, a world-renown stained glass artist from France. A surrounding landscape of open spaces, woodlands, and expansive views engaged the thoughtful architecture, and underscored the correlation of learning, spiritual development, physical exercise, and leisure that was central to the Sisters Formation.
The National Register-eligible campus is significant as a representation of the Sister Formation Movement which had a profound role in changing the experience of Catholic women in the United States. It was built during a volatile period when the influence of American culture, a new emphasis on education, and the Second Vatican Council collided with the older, more traditional understanding of authority and obedience in the Church, significantly altering the face of Catholicism in this country.
A shift to integrate religious education with secular student populations coupled with declining numbers of women entering the religious community forced the college to close in 1969. The Sisters continued to operate a conference center in the facility before selling in the late 1970s to the Lutheran Bible Institute, later known as Trinity Lutheran College. The present owner, City Church, purchased the complex in 2004. The Issaquah School District is planning to use eminent domain to aquire the property in order to build a high school and a grade school. The district currently has no plans in place to preserve any of the campus buildings.
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