Cardinal Union Groundbreaking Celebration

Last Thursday, the Seattle Academy community came together to spend a final evening in the (CUB) before demolition begins and toast the upcoming groundbreaking for our new 70,000+ square feet Cardinal Union Building, (a permanent home for the Middle School program) opening Fall 2018 in its place on 13th and Union. The intergenerational gathering of facilitators, parents, faculty, and alumni was a good fit for celebrating the eventual uniting of our school on the Vanderbilt block.

One of the best parts of this event had been put in motion earlier in the week, when the now mostly-empty CUB was beset by a whoosh of winter air and the oncoming train (and corresponding wall of sound) that is a company of 6th graders on the move.

As the first middle schoolers who will use the new building as 8th graders in 2018, the class of 2023 were invited to write their hopes and dreams on the walls of the old building before it gets knocked down—while a bit trepidatious at first, they didn’t need much encouraging to get to work.

On Thursday, the wider community was invited to add their contributions to the walls of the old building, where cheery lights were tacked up with care, the SAAS lunch program provided food worthy of eating several more mini quiches than you intended, and student facilitators were on hand to greet guests with enthusiasm.

Around the walls swam a “School of Fish” painted by 8th grade art students as part of a project to engage with their changing community and the school’s connection with Capitol Hill. Students painted individual Pacific Northwest fish like rainbow trout, sockeye and coho salmon, flounder, and rockfish, which will become street art on the outside of the fence when work on the new building begins. 

Classrooms brimming with words and doodles large and small from all parts of the community abutted an exciting virtual reality station where guests could enter and navigate the new Cardinal Union Building with guidance from LMN architects.

Possibly the most fantastic part of the virtual reality experience was being able to virtually “hop” from each area of the building to the next and feel out how dynamically connected they really are. It is almost the “coming alive” of a dream we’ve been working for since the school first opened the CUB property in 2007.


This demolition is another milestone in our ambitious journey to provide educational resources that inspire students to rise to the occasion and continue to blow us away with their curiosity, ingenuity, and drive.

We are so lucky to have such a great community to help us make this happen and celebrate this moment. We’ve raised $32 million of our $35 million fundraising goal, and our next benchmark is to reach $34 million, which will activate a matching donation of $1 million and boost us to our final goal!

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