TranslateThe Hub

SAAS: Community Update on the Home of the Upper School Building

Community Update on the Home of the Upper School Building

Dear SAAS Community, 

As you know, Seattle Academy is planning to build a new building on the SAAS block to consolidate the campus and complete a decades-old master facilities plan for the school. We have seen the power of transformational projects throughout our history; the completion of the Arts Center and Gym in the early 2000’s, followed by the STREAM Building in 2015 and the Middle School Building in 2018 were all designed to best meet the mission of the school for different generations of students. These have collectively created enormous opportunities for programs, faculty members, and students.

Our current project, a home for the Upper School, will unify our community with a central “home base,” unlocking student collaboration and creativity with dynamic classroom and gathering spaces, and empower our thriving signature Upper School programs.

Seattle Academy owns the entire block on 12th Avenue between Spring and Union, which currently houses the STREAM Building, Upper School Gym, Arts Center, and Vanderbilt Building. The largest portion of the block, between the Vanderbilt Building and Arts Center on 12th Ave, has yet to be developed and is the footprint for a 5-story, 100,000 square foot building: a home for Seattle Academy’s Upper School programs and the final puzzle piece on the SAAS block. 

We are demolishing buildings on the existing site this summer and are excited to share details about the specific spaces within the future Upper School Building:

  • Flexible Classroom Spaces that will include large seminar rooms and Learning Support spaces
  • Innovation Center that will include wood and metal fabrication shops, as well as  prototyping and collaboration spaces
  • Music Production Studios that will include designated classrooms and control rooms for mixing, editing and vocal recording
  • Community Spaces will include a two-story Upper School Community Commons on the first two floors and a servery. Additional collaborative spaces on each of the upper three floors
  • Outdoor Courtyard will connect to the main Upper School Community Commons 
  • Student Services and Administrative Offices will provide faculty with office space for course prep, faculty meetings, and to take student-faculty conversations out of the hallways and into quiet spaces
  • Interconnectivity to Existing Campus through the courtyard to the Upper School gym, the STREAM Building, and the Arts Center
  • Additional Parking will be added underneath the Upper School building

View of the courtyard (facing north), connecting the existing campus to the new building.

A completed and cohesive campus will create a deeper sense of community across SAAS. The building is the "What," and we're excited about the new spaces, connections to existing buildings and the future on a campus that we wholly own vs lease. 

But as important as it is to be clear and thoughtful about the "What," of a major building project I believe a most important consideration is "To what end?" What will this project mean in the lives of our students and faculty, our Cardinal families and alumni, and those in the growing city of Seattle?

The answers to those questions are layered and dynamic. Fundamentally, we're excited about a home for our school community, for the connections it facilitates and nurtures, and for the ways in which a transformed campus can serve as a catalyst for the potential of our students and faculty, present and future.

More to come as we move forward into construction, and we look forward to sharing the excitement with you in the year ahead.

Rob Phillips

Head of School