by Sue Belcher, head of school of The Downtown School
The Downtown School officially has a home and I couldn't be more excited! The historic 16,000-square-foot building on the corner of Warren Avenue and John Street has large, light-filled classrooms, a big multipurpose area that will become our "commons," and lots of flexible spaces for both collaboration and quiet work. And the building is located next to Seattle Center – an area of the city with a special history and importance in our region.
The building and location embody an aspect of what makes The Downtown School special: They blend tradition and innovation.
In The Downtown School's academic program, that blend is seen in classes in traditional core content areas (English, history, math/computational thinking, science, and Spanish) and interdisciplinary courses that blend art, history, science, philosophy, psychology, and religion. Students will have shorter in-class days and an extended school year – and they'll be using the city itself as classroom, both with their teachers and in internships.
The updated building will also balance tradition and innovation: The 1920s-era school will have a modern, open-concept co-working space on the ground floor where teachers and students can collaborate. We're keeping many of the historic architectural details that make the building feel special while adding a brand new biology/chemistry lab and physics/engineering classroom.
Seattle Center itself – one of the city's most treasured assets – is exploring this balance between history and innovation. Last fall, the Seattle Center: What's Next event brought together a diverse group of leaders to envision the center's future in a Seattle that is a global hub for innovation, technology, and creativity. Not to mention the changes coming to Key Arena – which I can see looking out the windows of The Downtown School!
Stay tuned for more updates!