Big crowd tonight for the ribboncutting celebration at Summit Atlas, West Seattle’s first charter school, about to start classes inside a renovated – and soon to be expanded – ex-church/ex-supermarket at 9601 35th SW. The school is starting with sixth and ninth graders, adding a middle- and high-school grade each year until it’s a full 6th-through-12th campus; its soon-to-be-students were invited to help cut the ribbon tonight (our video above pans along the line).
By the time we toured the school last month, almost 200 students were enrolled. As with other charter schools in our state, this one receives public funding and does not charge tuition; it’s leasing the building and site from Washington Charter Schools Development, a donation-funded nonprofit that bought it for $4.75 million from its former owner, Freedom Church/Jesus Center, which subsequently bought and moved to a new campus in Skyway. We first reported on the charter-school plan in early 2015, after discovering it in city permit files. When the state approved Summit’s plan in August 2015, the plan was for it to open in fall 2016, but the court/legislative fight over funding charter schools led to a one-year delay.
Classes at Summit Atlas start 8:15 am Monday for ninth-graders, same time Tuesday for sixth-graders. This is the third school in Arbor Heights, joining Arbor Heights Elementary – which will start its second year in its new building next month – and Westside School (WSB sponsor), which is heading into its third year at its AH campus.