Seattle and other cities have considered opening K-12 schools in or around their downtowns, both to serve the increasing number of center-city residents and to add to city life. The problem has been finding suitable sites and the high cost of construction, which here in Puget Sound now runs more than $100,000 a seat for a quality, low-rise, suburban elementary school.
With office values now losing much of their value, cities should get behind charter schools and match them with their empty office buildings. Those schools are already out there looking. Here’s an example of a match made in Bothell, WA, about 30 minutes northeast of Seattle. Here “BASIS”, a chain of private schools charging $ 50,000-year for tuition, has taken over a Grade A office building in a suburban office park just off I-405.
Yes, there are no ballfields, but this school is not far from Microsoft’s headquarters and the bedroom communities where so many of its workers live. This is one way for cities to get back in the game of winning back young professionals who now have families and have fled to the suburbs.