Preservation & Renovation

The Historic Trust is dedicated to ensuring Providence Academy stands for another 150 years

With purchase of the Academy site in 2015, The Historic Trust has invested about $9.5 million in rehabilitation and maintenance. Building stewardship is carried out in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and with the oversight of the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and advice from the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission. Though much remains to be done, significant progress has been accomplished with the help of donors and historic building experts such as SERA Architects, Meritus (formerly Venerable Properties), Wilson Architects, Schommer and Sons Construction, and Erickson Engineering.



A combination of age and years of patchwork repairs had left the Academy’s roof leaking badly. When the Trust purchased the property in 2015, approximately 50 five-gallon buckets occupied the attic to catch water penetration in order to lessen the damage to the building.

Thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Economic Development and generous donors, the renovation included an entire roof replacement with red standing-seam metal roofing that replicated the original historic material. Elective and logical seismic improvements were incorporated by adding plywood sheathing to the building diaphragm and structural reinforcement to improve the stability and longevity of the Academy.

Providence Academy Vancouver

Gallery Porches

The southern gallery porches, a signature architectural feature of the building which recall Mother Joseph’s French Colonial upbringing in Montreal, were rotting in place due to the time and exposure. Decking, supports, railings, and other components were failing and did not meet current code. The same grant referenced above provided funding for the removal and replacement in kind starting from the footings, all the way up to the porch roofs. Unobtrusive wire handrails were added to provide the increased height required by current code. The southern porches are returned to usability by tenants and visitors while the historic appearance were retained.

Interior Work

In 2019, The Historic Trust rehabilitated the Chapel and Providence Hall (formerly known as the Ballroom) and related spaces and features to return them to a more historic appearance and address wear and tear and water damage. Heating and cooling, electrical, and AV systems were improved for those spaces.

Providence Academy front entrance

Front Entry

A rehabilitation of the Academy’s front door completed in August, 2019 has left that entry ready for another century, courtesy of a grant from the Kinsman Foundation.


Site Work

A 1976 restaurant building was deconstructed in 2019 to create more public green space and improve views of the Academy.

Upcoming Providence Academy renovations include:

  • Repairing areas of rot on the north porches and bring the railings up to code for safety and more public usage.
  • Additional interior finish and lighting projects.
  • Improving the required needs of a public buildings such as bathrooms, hallways and common areas.
  • Updating and replacing the Providence Academy’s dated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems as they are reaching the end of their expected life span.
  • Improving ADA access by installing a new elevator and ADA accessible to entry/exit points.
  • Improving the parking surface to meet current code requirements through paving, lighting, storm water draining, upgrading utilities, and other  required site improvements. Effective December 31, 2015, current code required all unimproved surfaces on the site to be upgraded.
Providence Academy Chapel in Vancouver WA
  • Replace the roof on cottage building and renovate interior of the structure.
  • Address the stabilization of the Smoke Stack.
  • Mitigate the necessary removal of the Laundry Building and Boiler Building with measures focused on broadly telling a more complete story of the tremendous local humanitarian and educational accomplishments of the Sisters of Providence. These measures along with written and photographic documentation, will be exhibited in the planned Providence Academy Interpretive Center, expanded site history information on The Historic Trust website, and retention of representative samples of building materials for Trust collections and possible incorporation in future Academy rehabilitation.