Spokane International Academy (“SIA”) opened in 2015 as one of Washington’s first charter schools. SIA empowers its students with the academic skills, habits of mind and global competence necessary to complete advanced courses in high school and a college degree in order to become leaders who can powerfully transform their communities in the future. The school believes that by focusing on high academic standards, developing individuals with strong character and helping students build and refine their international mindedness, they are truly setting the students up for success regardless of the careers they choose in the future.
Like many charter schools, SIA originally opened in a leased building that had been a former Catholic school. In 2017 they expanded into a second leased space owned by another church and added portables to that site. Since neither of those sites could accommodate SIA’s full population and both needed significant improvements, neither was suitable as a long-term home.
SIA started working with WCSD in 2017 to identify a permanent site and in 2019 SIA identified the former Guardian Life Insurance building as a potential home. Although the building was larger than what SIA needed, the advantages of location, building layout, an existing commercial kitchen, and adequate land, made it worth pursuing. The building had been a three-story office building with a data center and cafeteria on the first floor and open office on the second and third floors. In order to transform the building to meet SIA’s needs, interior improvements involved renovating the second floor and part of the first floor to build out 24 classrooms and admin spaces and updating and expanding the cafeteria. Site work included relocating the building’s driveway and redoing the parking lot and utilities to isolate the building onto a separate parcel in anticipation of exercising the purchase option. As the school grows, they anticipate building out the third floor and the remainder of the first floor for additional classroom and elective spaces.
777 Magnesium Rd., Spokane, WA