Flint Cultural Center breaks ground on K-8 academy

State and local leaders took part in Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony Photo by Ben Gagnon

State and local leaders took part in Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony Photo by Ben Gagnon

FLINT — Local and state leaders gathered at the campus of the Flint Cultural Center Tuesday morning to break ground on a public, nonprofit charter school that will serve kindergarten through eighth grade students.

City of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, along with State Senator Jim Ananich, were among the dignitaries who performed ground-breaking honors on the Flint Cultural Center Academy.

Slated to open in time for the start of the 2019/2020 school year, the Flint Cultural Center Academy will offer students an educational experience featuring daily activities and programs at the Cultural Center’s institutions, including: the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint Institute of Music, Flint Public Library, Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum and the Whiting.

Stepping in to fund the project is the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which has committed up to $35 million to cover the costs of designing, constructing and outfitting the school.

“The Flint Cultural Center Academy will build on the strengths of the Cultural Center institutions to create an experiential learning opportunity that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the region,” said Mott Foundation President Ridgway White. “It also will mark the next step in efforts to strengthen the education continuum in Flint—from cradle to college and career.”

Once completed, the 78,000 square foot school will feature 37 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen. There will also be an adjacent exhibit and learning space that will offer three multipurpose classrooms and provide students and staff with direct access to the Flint Institute of Music and Sloan Museum.

“Our goal for the Flint Cultural Center Academy is to engage students in science and the fine and performing arts in ways they otherwise might not encounter,” said Mark Sinila, chief operating officer of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation. “Those experiences will reflect and reinforce the learning taking place in the classroom.”

Altogether, the school is expected to serve 650 students by its fourth academic year. Enrollment will be open to students living in Flint, Genesee County and—in accordance with state law for public charter schools—elsewhere in Michigan.

Mayor Weaver, who also spoke to attendees at the ceremony, said that the academy will play a critical role in Flint’s comeback as a city.

“Education is part of (our) resiliency,” she said. “It’s a part of economic development and building strong, healthy communities.”

Information about the application process to enroll a child in the Flint Cultural Center Academy will be available in early 2019.

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