12-03-2016  1:39 am      •     

Students at Seattle's New School won't have to go far while their new site is being built.
Seattle Public Schools announced last week that the nearby Columbia Building will house the New School while its permanent South Shore site is under construction.
Located less than three miles north of the permanent South Shore site, the Columbia Building allows Seattle Public to keep the New School in Southeast Seattle, helping to maintain the school's connection with the Rainier Valley community.
"Every decision is driven by academic achievement," SPS Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno said. "We are particularly pleased that locating the New School at the Columbia facility while the permanent building is being constructed will keep our students close to their families and their community."
In February, Seattle voters approved the Building Excellence III Capitol Bond, which provides $64.7 million for new construction of a K-8 school at the South Shore site. The existing structure at South Shore, which has housed the New School since 2002, will be demolished this summer. The Columbia Building remains slated for eventual closure. According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool will remain in operation throughout the construction of the New School building.
In the meantime, the alternative Kindergarten through fifth grade Orca program — now housed at the Columbia Building — will move this summer to its permanent location at Whitworth Elementary School, and will expand to a Kindergarten through eighth grade program. Whitworth Elementary will merge with Dearborn Park Elementary at Dearborn Park.
"This is wonderful news for Southeast Seattle," said Rebecca Sadinsky, executive director, Powerful Schools. "It means that what would have been a vacant building in the heart of the valley will be vibrant and well-used for two more years while the future fate of this site is discussed."

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