By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
King Street Station sits on the border of Pioneer Square near the International District, and it’s undergoing a facelift with the help of the King Street Station Restoration Project. The station opened to the public in 1906.
The recognizable clock tower was inspired by Venice’s Piazza de San Marco. However, many of the historic features of the building were replaced with modern amenities in the late 1960s.
When the city took over the project, Trevina Wang, King Street Station Restoration Project manager, set out to give the station a refreshed look that fit both the station’s character and prestigious status as a state landmark building. As a recognizable landmark in the historic Pioneer Square district, it was important for the station to maintain its historic appearance.
Wang left Hong Kong after finishing high school and came to Seattle in the 1980s, where she graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in construction management. She started working for the Department of Transportation in 2004. Prior to that, she worked for the city in the facilities group doing capital improvement work. Now heading the King Station Project, Wang is dedicated to making sure the renovation runs smoothly.
“The most important thing is to return this landmark to the people of Seattle so it can be used and appreciated by everybody,” Wang said.
All state funded projects more than 5,000 square feet, like the King Street Station, need to achieve LEED Silver certification, which confirms that buildings are being built under strategies aimed at ensuring high efficiency as well as public and environmental health. But Wang says they are aspiring for the elite Platinum level, the highest level of LEED certification. The current design plans will allow for the station to reach that goal. This may become one of the first train stations in the area to earn that certification.
Wang also noted that her team was very lucky to have the chance to incorporate the high performance elements into the building. Their goal was to add environmentally friendly elements while maintaining the historic façade. One of the biggest challenges of the project was having to come up with ways to add sustainable features to the historical building.
Currently, there are at least two other LEED Platinum certified historic buildings in the state, including the University of Washington’s Russell T. Joy Building in Tacoma and the renovated Saranac Building in Spokane.
Anything that Wang’s team wanted to do with the interior and exterior of the building had to be approved by the Pioneer Square Preservation Board.
“The board has been very supportive of the project,” she said.
Members of the board are all volunteers and were appointed by the city council. Wang and her team have presented plans to the board at least 40 times because they consult with them on various matters related to the renovation.
Architect Lorne McConachie, of Bassetti Architects, has been on the Pioneer Square Preservation Board for six years. Wang and McConachie have been working together for a few years on this project. McConachie explained that Wang was responsible for coming to the board and presenting their plans by coordinating and communicating the scope of work for the board’s approval.
“Trevina is a delight. She’s a great person, and you can tell she cares deeply about the work she’s doing,” McConachie said.
“She’s like a juggler with 10 balls in the air, and she does a good job at it,” he said.
Wang points out that with the renovation, there will be another access point opened in the plaza, so people will be able to directly cross the Jackson Street bridge.
“I’m hoping that when we finish the project next year, it will create a new gathering point for the community. I hope people will feel more welcome to the area,” Wang said.
The renovation project is scheduled to be completed next spring. (end)
For more information, please visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/kingstreet.htm.
Nina Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.