What We Do
University Heights Center promotes life-long learning, creativity, culture, community activism, and the preservation of our historic building.
Above all, UHeights Center is devoted to our local community: our children, arts and culture, education, civic involvement, sustainability, and the lifelong education of individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. We believe in fostering community, culture, and educational opportunities in the U District and Greater Seattle area. Moreover, residing in one of the most historic elementary school buildings in Washington, we strive to preserve and maintain our iconic structure for generations to come.
What We've Accomplished
Founded in 1989 by University District residents and businesses who believed this building would serve as a vital gathering place for the community, University Heights Center has been serving the Greater Seattle area since 1902. We continually provide new programs, services & activities to the center aimed at strengthening our neighborhoods while meeting the needs of our diverse and growing communities.
Annually, University Heights welcomes over 250,000 visitors through its doors and over 200 groups choose to make us their home for classes, workshops, community meetings and more. From aerobics to belly dance, from city meetings to dance classes, from green gardening to shopping at Seattle's largest farmers market, University Heights Center has a little bit of everything.
Every year, University Heights participates in many special events throughout the University District and we are always looking for more ways to strengthen community. Have an idea for a class or a need in the area, let us hear it! We appreciate all suggestions. We are always on the lookout for new programs or services to meet the needs of our diverse and ever-changing neighborhoods.
Because we value our neighborhood, we also work closely with other organizations seeking to improve and strengthen the neighborhood. University Heights holds a variety of community events free to the public every year focusing on events that meet our mission and encourage community participation.
UHeights Equity and Inclusion Policy
At the University Heights Center (UHeights) a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is one where all employees and volunteers, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, feels valued and respected. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments, programs, and worksites. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.
We are committed to modeling diversity and inclusion for the nonprofit sector, and to maintaining an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all. To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, UHeights strives to:
• See diversity, inclusion, and equity as connected to our mission and critical to ensure the well-being of our staff and the communities we serve.
• Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and continually update and report organization progress.
• Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness.
• Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities impact our organization’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.
• Help to challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader at our organization, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership.
• Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions.
• Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, committee, and advisory bodies.
• Lead with respect and tolerance. We expect all employees to embrace this notion and to express it in workplace interactions and through everyday practices.
UHeights abides by the following action items to help promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace:
• Pursue cultural competency throughout our organization by creating substantive learning opportunities and formal, transparent policies.
• Generate and aggregate quantitative and qualitative research related to equity to make incremental, measurable progress toward the visibility of our diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts.
• Improve our cultural leadership by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the diversity of American society.
• Pool resources and expand offerings for underrepresented constituents by connecting with other arts organizations committed to diversity and inclusion efforts.
• Develop and present sessions on diversity, inclusion, and equity to provide information and resources internally, and to members, the community, and the nonprofit and arts industry.
• Develop a system for being more intentional and conscious of bias during the hiring, promoting, or evaluating process. Train our hiring team on equitable practices.
• Include a salary range with all public job descriptions.
Advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity. Challenge systems and policies that create inequity, oppression and disparity.
To learn more about our rich history, check out our timeline!
We adore our historical wood frame building, but with it comes a need for constant upkeep. Aside from the daily maintenance associated with hundreds of daily occupants, we are constantly working to make improvements. From playground remodeling, seismic retrofits, and the development of UHeights Plaza, the preservation of our building is at the foundation of the work that we do.
Water Remediation and Roofline Preservation
In 2018, UHeights began the journey of repairing our roof, parapets, and cornices, as they started to show signs of water damage and infiltration.
In addition, this project would not have been possible without the major support of:
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
Seattle Office of Arts and Culture
Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation
Joshua Green Foundation
Richaven Architecture & Preservation
U District Rotary
Pat and Ken Weber Fund
In a neighborhood and city bursting with creative talent, small performing arts spaces are hard to find! We are excited to unveil the renovations made to out beloved Auditorium (Rm 209.)
Improvements include a new stage, lighting grid, sound system, projector, big screen, and blackout curtains. These changes will allow for more versatility for performers and neighborhood groups alike.
This project would not be possible without the support of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods and 4Culture.
Our preservation is an ongoing and resource-intensive endeavor that is fundamental to our continued contribution to the cultural fabric of the U District. Please consider making a donation to UHeights so that we can continue making these vital improvements.
Maureen has served the nonprofit sector since 2000. Most recently as the Vice President of a large fiscal sponsorship organization the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, she helped lead an organization with over 90 charitable ventures and 250 employees. She led Boulder County CareConnect as Executive Director for eight years providing services to low-income seniors and adults with disabilities. Maureen holds her Master's in Nonprofit Management and Bachelors' degrees in English and Psychology. Her favorite part of the University Heights Center are the people who work, volunteer and play at UHeights every day.
Mason has been a passionate advocate for public interest projects throughout the world for over a decade. He was the founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Micronesia and also served as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in the US Peace Corps' Azerbaijan program. Mason holds a Master’s in International Affairs, a Juris Doctorate, and a Bachelor’s in Theater Arts.
Olena has been with University Heights since July 2006. She graduated from University of Moscow and University of Kharkov with a major in Economics / Operations Management, and a minor in Planning Engineer. She enjoys working with all types of people, building new relationships and continuously striving to learn new things and be challenged with new ideas. She is thankful for the opportunity to work in such a dynamic environment and with some of the most interesting people at University Heights.
Outreach & Program Coordinator
Connect-Create-Celebrate has been the thread running through all of Shirin's varied work-life experiences. Her passion is people and she loves connecting people to each other as well as to themselves and their own passions. She likes to think of herself as a Creativity Catalyst! UHeights has been Shirin's second home for the last 8 years with both of her kids attending school in the building. As a recent addition to the UHeights staff, she is very grateful for the opportunity to serve as Outreach and Program Coordinator and fill her days surrounded by creativity and community!
Aaron is the facilities manager at Uheights. He enjoys his job because he gets paid to help people and make a positive impact on the community. Aaron is originally from Pierce county. He is an artist, and draws inspiration from the works of H.R. Giger and Dr. Seuss. Aaron has a cat named Butter. Whenever possible, he tries to be a gentleman.
Addison Kramlich has been at UHeights since November 2018 and thoroughly enjoys working with a diverse and friendly group of people. Before UHeights Addison had a career in stand-up and special FX make-up on local movies, commercials, and live events.
VINNY DELLI PAOLI
Vinny Delli Paoli is a resident of the neighborhood. He enjoys gardening, a good book, and creating art. Vinny also has a plot at the UHeights P-Patch.
Much like the cult hero Buckaroo Banzai, Nicolina felt she was born to go in many different directions at once. Nicolina couldn't be happier that her circuitous path has led her right to UHeights and the phenomenal group of people that have embraced her as part of their team. It feels like coming home. She is excited to contribute all her accumulated talents and apply her Leslie Knope-level of positivity in any way she can to help grow community, foster connections and provide fun and enriching experiences to everyone that also finds their way to this wonderful place.
ARTS, THEATER, MUSIC EDUCATION
Live Theatrical Children's Theater--Broadway Bound Children's Theatre transforms the lives of children ages 5-18 through active participation in a dynamic theatre arts program that combines a fun & supportive atmosphere with professional standards. Children of all skill levels and backgrounds are challenged to develop their mental, physical, emotional, social, and creative potential through the joy and discipline of live theater.
Top Floor; South Wing; Office - STE 203 & Studios STE 204, 205 & 206
Musical Education--Northwest Choirs comprised of the Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint! Seattle is a non-profit organization, based in Seattle, Washington, with the stated purposes of making available music education and performance opportunities for children and young adults and contributing to the cultural life of the community by providing access to a unique choral resource.
Ground Floor (Basement) - North Wing; Office & Studio - STE (S): NB2 & NB3
Music, Theater, & Art Basted Education Alternative--Three Dragons Academy is dedicated to providing an arts enrichment program for youth/students and families seeking alternative education (such as home-based and online schooling) or supplementary arts tutoring. TDA provide art, music and theatre -based curriculum in a child-centered 'group-lesson' atmosphere that allows students to grow their love of learning while nurturing ongoing relationships with their peers. TDA features working fine-arts professionals who help students develop talents related to theatre, music, & art (& other arts).
Main Floor - North Wing - STE 107
Independent Elementary School - The Academy for Precision Learning (APL) is a K-12 school that educates typically-developing students and those across the autism spectrum in an academically challenging and socially vibrant community. The APL model utilizes customized curriculum and innovative instructional methods to provide meaningful access and tangible progress for every student. Our goal is for every APL student to become a curious and engaged life-long learner who celebrates diversity, practices self-advocacy, and generates impact in the community.
Main Floor: Office - 104A & Classrooms STE 105 & STE 106 - South Wing; Classroom STE 11 - Center of Building
Teen & Adult Driving Instruction--Defensive Driving School provides state-of-the art drivers training to qualifying young adults and adults. We consistently apply small class comprehensive training, stressing the concept of defensive driving techniques while providing “hands on” real life situations. We are one of the premier drivers education courses in the Northwest with and excellent record of preparing first time drivers for the highways and byways of Washington.
Top Floor; Center of Building - Satellite Classroom - STE 201
Early Childhood Education / Childcare--University District Children’s Center is a secular, independent, 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing child care to children aged 12 months to 5 years. UDCC's overall purpose is to provide a warm, nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment that reflects, respects, and values the individual personalities, needs, abilities and cultures of the children and families we serve.
Ground Floor (Basement) - South Wing - STE SB1
Japanese Language School--Yugakusha School is for Japanese and Japanese-American children who want to pursue a traditional Japanese education in the U.S. We believe that early childhood language and culture education is the key to becoming fully bilingual and bicultural.
Main Floor - North Wing; Classroom STE 110
Consulting & Service Solutions--OTB Solutions is a consulting that connects people with information focusing primarily on clients in the Pacific Northwest with a variety of clients throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Our clients come from several industries including healthcare, life sciences, high tech, professional services, manufacturing, communications and media.
Top Floor - North Wing; Satellite Office - STE 208
Housing Advocate Services--A 37-year old low income housing organizing and advocacy project here in Seattle, the Seattle Displacements Coalition’s responsibility to provide organizational and technical assistance, legislative advocacy, and social services for low income households, senior citizens, and the homeless in the Seattle area.
Main Floor - North Wing: District Office - STE 108A
WA State Dept. of Ecology Conservation Program--A partnership of two organizations, Forterra and Washington Conservation Corp, to support environmental work throughout the area.
Housing Station West Parking Lot & Ground Floor
University District Farmer's Market is one of the longest running and most enduring farmers markets in the Northwest and operates as part of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. They are committed to supporting and strengthening Washington's small family farm businesses by creating and operating vibrant, successful neighborhood farmers markets.
University Avenue NE between 50th and 52th Street
Community Garden--This City of Seattle program manages and promotes community-stewarded open spaces for organic urban agriculture to individuals and groups.
East Grounds of Property parallel to University Way NE
MARTIAL ARTS/ HEALTH & WELLNESS
Martial Arts Instruction--Seattle Ki Society teaches Ki-Aikido and Ki Development to adults and children. We teach Master Tohei's style of Aikido with Mind and Body Coordination (Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido or Ki-Aikido), which focuses on respecting and blending with your partners energy or ki to neutralize an attack. The focus of our training is on ki development taught through the movements of aikido, with the ultimate goal of applying ki principles to daily life.
Top Floor - North Wing; Office & Dojo - STE 207