Come 2019, Flint will have a new free charter school.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Flint Cultural Center Academy took place June 26 on the vacant land behind Sloan Museum and Flint Institute of Music.
Projected to open in fall of 2019, the Flint Cultural Center Academy is a free charter school beginning with 300 students from K-5, then growing to eventually house K-8 and approximately 650 students. Open to children across the state of Michigan, application information will be available in early 2019, and plans are to hold a lottery system if the school receives too many applicants.
When completed, the two-story school will include 37 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen, special education classrooms and will attach to Sloan Museum and Flint Institute of Music. The curriculum will be developed through EL Education, a nonprofit educational organization.
The Flint Cultural Center Academy was authorized through Grand Valley State University.
Amy Fugate, vice president of academic affairs at Mott Community College and president of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation Board, sees the development as a logical extension of the work the Cultural Center has done over the years.
“I think the visionaries who started the Flint Cultural Center Corporation many years back had visions for what this could be and that it would change and grow over time,” she says. “Today we are here to celebrate the opportunity for a new addition to the Cultural Center Corporation.”
Students at the new school will have access to the Flint Public Library, Sloan Museum, Longway Planetarium, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint Institute of Music and The Whiting auditorium, daily, as opposed to those students who attend with the many field trips that visit the Cultural Center every year. They will spend 90 minutes of every school day in one of the Cultural Center institutions as part of their instruction.
“The resources the kids will have that are in the school are amazing,” says Todd K. Slisher, executive director of Sloan Longway. “How many schools do you know that come with their own performance venue or the state’s largest and most advanced planetarium, one of the best art collections in the state, one of the best schools of music and dance? The list goes on and on.”
The Flint Cultural Center Academy was planned as an addition to the current programing. The Flint Cultural Center Corporation says the existing programming for the residents of Genesee County will continue as usual.
Ridgway White, chairman and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, believes the groundbreaking is the next step in the more comprehensive effort to improve education in Flint. The foundation pledged up to $35 million for the project.
The groundbreaking is on the heels of the addition of the new early learning center, Educare, opening at Durant-Tuuri Mott Elementary School, also largely funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
“The Mott Foundation believes that the Flint Cultural Center Academy will play an important role in this educational continuum,” White says, “That is why the Mott Foundation is pleased to provide support for the construction and building and outfitting of this new, nonprofit, public charter school.”
Besides White, the ground breaking was attended by community leaders, including representatives from the Flint Cultural Center Corporation, Mayor Karen Weaver and State Senator Jim Ananich.