History of Mary Purcell Elementary
Plans for Mary Purcell Elementary began in 1946, when voters for the construction passed a special $246,000 bond issue. The cost of land was $36,000, the remainder of the money, together with State Matching Funds and a portion of the $150,000 bond issue voted in September of 1950, adding two classrooms, completed the original building. Total construction costs came to $398,000.
Dedication and naming of the new K-3 school, which was completed in early summer of 1951 was to honor a long time teacher and principal in our district. Miss Mary Purcell, who came to teach in Sedro-Woolley in the spring of 1902, she was a classroom teacher until 1909, when promoted to teaching principal of Franklin School. In 1925 she was named principal of both Franklin and Irving Schools, neither of which are still in existence. Both schools were razed in 1926 to make way for the construction of Central Grade School. When completed, Miss Mary Purcell assumed the roll of principal and continued in that capacity until her resignation in 1947. The school board, acting upon the request of local residents who had studied under Miss Purcell and desired to honor the contribution she had made to education in Sedro-Woolley, determined that the new school would be named the Mary Purcell Elementary School. Miss Mary Purcell passed away September 20, 1957.
The structure was designed to house kindergarten through third grade. The Central School would house the balance of pupils through sixth grade. Anticipated enrollment when the school opened in 1951 was 360 students, actual enrollment wound up being 390 students in 11 classrooms, 35+ students in each room. A two-classroom structure was added in 1954. In the late 1960’s, five portable structures were constructed on the Mary Purcell site to alleviate the crowding caused by a steady increase of pupils over the preceding 15 years. The portable buildings are still in use today.
An arsonist fire in December of 1973, caused over $100,000 damage to the building. It was determined that during repairs from the fire, structural changes, an addition of a library and renovations would be made. Renovations included modifying classrooms to accommodate intermediate grades that would be reassigned to Mary Purcell in 1974-75. Other renovations were to enlarge lavatories and the teacher workroom.
Mary Purcell Elementary received two additional classrooms, a new portion of roof and the domestic water supply piping was replaced from the 1990 Bond. New flooring, interior paint and wainscoting gave a fresh new look to our school in 1999. We received a new kindergarten portable building in 2002.
As of 2019, Mary Purcell Elementary has 21 regular education classrooms, 1 Emotional Behavioral Disorder Program, a Lifeskills Program, Library, Physical Education, Music and Art Specialists, Special Education Resource Room and also a Technology/Computer Lab. Current staffing consists of 2 Administrators, 1 Psychologist, 2 Speech Therapists, 1 Counselor, 21 Para Professionals, 2 Secretaries, 1 nurse, and 2 custodians. We also are excited to welcome the district's Foundations K (a Kindegraten readiness program), which has one teacher and one para professional.