AKA: University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Edmundson, Hec, Pavilion, Seattle, WA; Alaska Airlines Pavilion, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Bebb and Gould, Architects (firm); Decker / Hobbs Fukui Davison, Architects (firm); Henrikson - Alstrom Construction Company (firm); Morse, John M., and Associates, Architects (firm); Louis Alstrom (building contractor); Charles Herbert Bebb ; William H. Davison (architect); Jonathan Hill Decker (architect); David Hiroshi Fukui (architect); Carl Freylinghausen Gould Sr. (architect); John Henrik Henrikson (building contractor); John Moore Morse (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927-1927

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3870 Montlake Boulevard NE
University of Washington Campus, Seattle, WA 98105

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Seating about 9,600 people originally, the University of Washington (UW) Athletic Pavilion has accommodated 23 intercollegiate sports on campus since opening in late 1927. It cost about $600,000 to build and took only 9 months to build. Like many buildings on the UW campus of the 1910s and 1920, it was designed by the noted Seattle architectural firm of Bebb and Gould.

UW admimistrators renamed the facility in honor of University of Washington's basketball and track coach Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson (1886-1964) on 01/16/1948. Edmundson had a stellar record as the school's basketball coach, compiling a 488-195 record during his 27-year career.

Building History

Planning for The Seattle architectural firm of Bebb and Gould designed what was known originally as the "University of Washington Athletic Pavilion" dedicated on 12/27/1927, with the Governor Roland Hartley (1864-1952), Seattle Mayor Bertha K. Landes (1868-1943), and UW President M. Lyle Spencer (1881-1969) in attendance. Interestingly, no one from the architectural firm was asked to speak, perhaps because Governor Harley had seen to the removal of Carl Gould, Sr., as head of the Department of Architecture in 1926. The first athletic event held in the pavilion the night of the dedication, was a basketball contest between the UW and the University of Illinois, won by the former, 34-23.

Bebb and Gould, designers of 18 buildings on the UW Campus including many in the Humanities and Sciences Quads and Suzzallo Library, worked with the general contractor, Henrikson and Alstrom of Seattle. They designed and constructed the building for the Associated Students of the University of Washington, which paid for the majority of the building through tuition fees.

Thomas Alderson, an alumnus member of the UW's Board of Control for 23 years, turned over the first shovelful of dirt for the Athletic Pavilion on 03/29/1927. Members of the UW Building Committee, the Board of Control of the Associated Students, faculty, student-athletes, students and alumni looked on. The Seattle Daily Times article reviewing the groundbreaking ceremony stated of the new athletic building: "The new pavilion, designed to facilitate the holding of athletic contests and to offer greater recreational advantages to the students, will occupy a space 331 feet by 482 feet and will have an indoor field 170 feet by 320 feet. It will have a main room 315 by 350 feet, the distance from the floor of the room to the peak of the roof being equivalent to the height of a nine-story building. Construction work will require 1,000 tons of steel, 2,000,000 common brick, 500,000 face brick and 40,000 square feet of skylights." (See "Ground Broken for $600,000 Pavilion," Seattle Daily Times, 03/30/1927, p. 8.)

An article appeared in the Seattle Daily Times on 03/24/1927 that indicated how interested local contractors were in participating in the construction of the new gymnasium: "Thirty-seven bids on the work of constructing the University of Washington's new men's gymnasium and athletic pavilion were received at a meeting of the University regents, members of the University Building Committee, the architects, Bebb & Gould, and Darwin Meisnest, graduate manager, yesterday afternoon in the regent's office in the Henry Building. More contractors submitted bids on this building than on any previous one on the University's building program. There were thirteen on the general construction work, five for plumbing, seven for heating, four for planting, four for painting, four for hardware equipment and four for electrical work. Low bidders were as follows: General contract, Henrikson-Alstrom Construction Company; plumbing, Rautman Plumbing & Heating Company; heating, J.A. Scherer and University Plumbing and Heating Company; painting, A.F. Shepherd Company and Nelson & Chrystal, Inc.; hardware, Schwabacher Hardware Company and Seattle Hardware Company; wiring, Meacham & Babcock and J.J. Agutter & Co. The bids were to be taken under advisement today by the special finance committee of the University Building Committee and the Board of Control will be asked to authorize the letting of the contracts at its meeting tomorrow night. The project will be pushed as rapidly as possible, according to Mr. Meisnest, who is secretary of the building committee. The approximate cost of the new structure will be $650,000, all but $100,000 obtained from the state, to be raised by the students. The pavilion will occupy a space equivalent to a city block in width and one and one-half blocks in length, and will have a total seating capacity of 12,000." (See "37 Bids Received on University Gym," Seattle Daily Times, 03/24/1927, p. 18.)

Seafirst Bank (a Seattle-based banking subsidiary of Bank of America after 1983), bought naming rights that were used on the building between 06/1998 and 2000. In 1999, the Bank of America dropped the name "Seafirst" and utilized its own name beginning in 11/2000 and lasting until 2010. Alaska Airlines purchased corporate naming rights to the "Hec Ed" Pavilion on 01/20/2011.

Building Notes

Drawings by Bebb and Gould for the building dated from 02/1927 and were drawn by draftsman with initials H.K.M. and J.T., and were approved by Carl F. Gould, Sr.

In its early stages of planning the arena was known as the UW "Men's Physical Education Building."

The Josiah C. Moore Company was the Consulting Equipment Engineers on the Men's Physical Education Building. This firm produced mechanical plans for the pavilion's pool in 02/1927.

According to a note in a UW Facilities Office document, Hec Edmundson Pavilion "...had a dirt floor until 1967." (See Bob Minichiello, An Architectural Guide to the University of Washington, 1971, Shooting Scripts and Preparatory Information, University of Washington Facilities Office, typescript, 1971.)

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association hosted the state high school basketball tournament for many years in the Hec Edmundson Pavilion. In 1957, the single-game attendance record of 12,961 was ser for a semi-final matchup in that year's boy's high school tournament.


Major alteration have occurred in 1970, 1978, 1989 and 1999-2000. As changes have been made to the building's interior configuration, maximum seating capacities have changed, as well. The building could originally hold about 9,600, but this rose to 12,200 when bleachers were installed in 1947. Seating dropped to 9,400 in 1970 and decreased again to 7,900 in the 1980s. It rose to about 10,000 when the building was refreshed in 1999-2000.

Architect John Morse was involved in the 1970 renovation.

A new, 200-meter track, covered in a rubberized, synthetic surface, was installed here in preparation for the Goodwill Games of 07-08/1990.

The Seattle architectural firm of Decker/Fukui Davison designed an expansion project for the Edmundson Pavilion in 1985.

PCAD id: 4181