The COVID-19 crisis has sickened more than 25,000 and claimed nearly 800 lives in King County. The economic toll has included dozens of Capitol Hill businesses including restaurants and independent retail shops.
You can add a Capitol Hill private school community to the sad tally.
Waldorf-focused Bright Water School has announced that it will close after the 2020-2021 school year.
“The pandemic has painted the school into a financial corner from which we can find no escape,” the board said in its announcement to parents and guardians of the independent school that calls Saint Mark’s North Capitol Hill campus home.
Board chair John Healy said the closure stems from a downturn in enrollment during the crisis as families face new choices and challenges with ongoing distance learning and work from home requirements.
“A 25 percent drop in enrollment created an $850,000 hole in the current year’s budget,” the board’s announcement reads. The board says that reserves, rent deferral from Saint Mark’s Cathedral, and federal PPP aid enabled the school to stabilize operations for the school year but put Bright Water at a point of no return when it came to plans for continuing.
Bright Water reports an enrollment of around 175 students. Tuition for grades one to eight runs $22,000 a year.
Healy says the school has the resources required to complete the current academic year and is making the announcement now to give families time to plan.
The decision is unrelated to planning underway at Saint Mark’s over possible redevelopment of the buildings Bright Water calls home, Healy said. CHS reported here on the cathedral’s early examination of possible redevelopment plans for its St. Nicholas building home to Gage Academy and the pre-K to eighth grade Bright Water School. A consultant has recommended changing the building into a multi-family residential development.
In its announcement, the Bright Water board described the lead-up to COVID’s impact on the school, describing the financial status of the institution as “operating within thin but workable margins”.
“While enrollment had gently declined since the 2008 financial crisis, it was holding at a sustainable level,” they write. “The school had added important capacity to begin to bend the enrollment curve upward. We had contributed to our reserves for five consecutive years and our financial and operational management was stronger than ever, due in large part to the efforts of our new Head of School, Chaya Keefe. We began a long-term facilities plan in line with our accreditation work. The gains were tangible: a new play structure, salary increases to median levels for teachers in Seattle, and significant process improvements that raised the level of operational management.”
The board says it has considered multiple options but each would leave Bright Water as a “severely diminished program.” Meanwhile, they say, Saint Mark’s is not in a position to secure a long-term discounted lease for the school to address Bright Water’s largest expense.
At Bright Water, Healy says attention is now on completing the school year, continuing remote learning efforts with “a gradual return to campus beginning soon,” and sorting out what comes next.
Bright Water started out of a North Seattle home and grew to a community of nearly 200 students in just over 20 years. Some families and faculty, Healy says, are looking to the future, with early discussions about a new school to replace Bright Water.
Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated email@example.com -- LAST UPDATED: 11/11/20
Food and drink
- Barca, announced 11/11/2020
- Suika, lease issues, announced 9/27/2020
- Juicebox Cafe, announced 9/28/20
- Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill, announced 9/25/20
- Amandine, closing 9/30/20 announced 9/25/20
- Bar Sue, announced 9/25/20
- Marination Station, announced 9/14/20
- Ha Na, announced 8/27/20
- Intrigue Coffeehouse, announced 8/21/20
- Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
- The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
- Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
- Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
- Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
- Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
- My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered
Retail and more
- Stock and Pantry, E Pine, announced 10/14/20
- Take 2, 15th Ave E, announced 9/30/20
- No Parking, E Pike, announced 9/5/20
- Ritual House, 19th Ave E, reported 7/15/20
- Totokaelo, 10th Ave, reported 7/13/20
- Mode of Fitness, E Pine
- Urban Outfitters, Broadway, youth fashion chain's exit began last summer as Broadway Market began search for new tenant
- Le Frock, E Pike, consignment shop announced permanent closure in April
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