Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane International Academy finds new home

Charter school expected to relocate by fall 2020

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The 4-year-old Spokane International Academy has leased a new home at 777 E. Magnesium in north Spokane, says Travis Franklin, principal of the charter school.

With the planned consolidation at the 99,800-square-foot facility, located on the northwest corner of Magnesium Road and Nevada Street, the elementary and middle school classes will be under one roof. 

The plan is to renovate an existing facility on Magnesium Road into a new school. The building was previously offices of New York-based Guardian Life Insurance Co.

Seattle-based D3 Architects is designing the renovation. Franklin anticipates it going out to bid by the end of the year, with construction starting in early next year.

Ideally, he says, the school would move into the space in fall 2020. 

A final construction cost for the project hasn’t been determined yet, Franklin says. A predevelopment application on file with the city of Spokane lists an estimated cost of $2 million. 

The charter school currently is divided between what was formerly St. Patrick’s Catholic School, at 2706 E. Queen, where kindergarten through fifth is based, and space at the Journey Church on the lower South Hill, at 4224 E. Fourth, where the middle school grades are taught, Franklin says.

“We have quite a few parents who have kids in both programs, and right now they’re about 15 to 20 minutes apart,” he says. “It will make it easier for parents to access the program because they won’t have to worry about kids being at multiple buildings.”

Franklin adds the new space will allow the school to establish formal classrooms for its specialist programs, such as Spanish class, which currently operate off carts that teachers push from classroom to classroom. 

The Spokane County Assessor’s database lists Spokane Valley-based East Magnesium Properties LLC as the owner of the 32-acre property. 

Franklin estimates the new facility will accommodate up to 800 students. At last count, the school had about 500 enrolled students, he says.

The Spokane International Academy currently has 60 employees.

Currently, the charter school is working on transferring its contract to the Washington state Charter School Commission. Franklin says the school was previously approved for operations by Spokane Public Schools, with the stipulation that it had to operate within SPS’s boundaries. 

The new location is outside of the district’s boundaries, so the charter school must gain approval from the Charter Schools Commission, he says.

The school is working with Washington Charter School Development, an organization that helps charter schools find facilities. Franklin says that organization is guiding the school through the process. 

Franklin and nine other educators founded the charter school in August 2015, initially serving 160 students in grades kindergarten through sixth.

Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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