In the 1970s, needing to update the school's aging heating system, the District consolidated three elementary schools into the empty Seahurst Junior High. Lake Burien School was closed in 1976. Later, through the efforts of Burien residents, it became the property of King County Parks. (In 1978, Seattle Regular Baptist bought the property from the District for $181,000, operating its own school program there into the 1980s.)
By 1992, King County had purchased the property as a potential park site and was preparing to demolish the school building. There was some controversy, however, about what to do with the property: some wanted a retirement home; others, low-income housing. Recognizing the artistic and historic value of the school entrance's cast ornaments, community activist Vivian Matthews convinced the County to spare the sculptures and obtained funding to safely remove them.
Protected by many coats of paint over the years, the ornaments were carefully removed from the building, loaded onto a flatbed truck, stored at Kirk’s Feed and the Highline School District’s Maintenance Facility, and eventually mounted on the arch which stands today in the park. The only damage sustained was a broken ear.