Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences

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Seattle Academy
Seattle, Washington
United States
Type Private
Established 1983
Locale Urban
Faculty 104
Grades 6-12
Number of students 729
School color(s) Red, Black, White
Mascot Cardinal
Religious Affiliation None

Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, Seattle Academy, or SAAS is a coed independent middle and high school located on Seattle, Washington's urban Capitol Hill. The school was founded in 1983.

Seattle Academy has 729 students. Annual tuition is $28,254 for the middle school and $29,658 for the high school during the 2014-2015 school year. The school consists of grades 6-12 and describes itself as a preparatory school whose mission is to "prepare students for college and life".[1]

Seattle Academy Arts Center

SAAS consists of six main buildings: the Temple building (the school still shares the same building with the Temple De Hirsch-Sinai), which houses the middle school; the Vanderbilt Building, the core of the Upper School; the Arts Center, which houses all math and art classes; the Gym, complete with a weight room, multiple exercise machines, and a basketball court (SAAS's gym is one of the largest school-owned gyms in the Seattle area); the Cardinal Union Building, which houses some of the Upper School Humanities courses; and the STREAM Building, a facility dedicated to the Upper School Science curriculum. They are currently building a new middle school building that will open in 2018.


Seattle Academy has an extensive technology program, which includes full-time tech support staff, a fully wireless campus, and mandatory laptops for all high school students. The middle school has a full computer lab and a number of laptop banks.

The school has converted its academic software to a customized, Moodle-based education software client. This change garnered a mixed response from students.


Jean Orvis had run the school from its foundation in 1983 to her retirement at the end of the 2008-2009 school year and presided over the various capital campaigns that raised the money necessary to improve the campus.

Current Head of School Joe Puggelli has had a long and varied career, which includes US Army service,[citation needed] publishing, education, and coaching.

The school has a 21 member board, which consists of current parents, alumni parents and alumni of the school. The current chair is Donna Bellew.


  • Arts Center

The Arts Center, or AC, is one of five buildings currently used by Seattle Academy. The building was opened in 2001. The Arts Center holds the high school's arts programs, which include theater, music, studio arts, and photography. It is a requirement for all students to take every arts course at least once.

Seattle Academy's Math Department is also located in the Arts Center.

Art Center facilities include a darkroom, a video production studio, visual art studios, a metallurgy balcony, music classrooms, the 250-seat Orvis Theater, a smaller black box theater, dressing rooms, and a green room.

The Arts Center is attached to the Gym.

  • Cardinal Union Building

The Cardinal Union Building, or CUB. It opened in 2007 after extensive renovations during the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year. For more information on the future CUB 2 Building please visit

Currently, the building houses the Development and Alumni offices and the Speech/Debate program.

  • Gym

The Gym was completed in 2003. This two story building houses a dance studio, a weight-training room, and a regulation basketball court with bleachers, among its other facilities.

"Monday Meetings," weekly Upper School gatherings, are held in the Gym.

  • Temple

The Temple Building, which Seattle Academy shares with historical synagogue Temple De Hirsch Sinai, houses the Middle School. In addition, the school will often use the Temple's Sanctuary for all-school meetings.

Upper School students are accustomed to walking to the Temple Building for their foreign language classes.

  • Theaters

The Orvis Theater (named for previous head of School Jean Orvis) is Seattle Academy's primary theater and is located in the Arts Center. The theater holds 250 seats and is equipped with advanced sound and lighting technologies. Each year, the Upper School holds three major high school productions: a comedy, a musical, and a drama.

An intimate black box theater is used to perform smaller shows, including Middle School productions.

Both theaters are located in the Arts Center.

  • Vanderbilt

Acquired in 1998, the Vanderbilt is the second oldest of Seattle Academy's five buildings. The Vanderbilt Building houses Seattle Academy's English, History, and Science departments. The school's library and offices can be found on the second floor.

The first floor Commons is a popular gathering place for students and faculty during breaktimes.

  • STREAM Building

Completed in the summer of 2015, The SAAS STREAM Building is a facility dedicated to the Upper School Science curriculum and project-based integration of Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

The STREAM building includes 7 purpose-built science lab and studio spaces that have been designed to maximize both space and flexibility to meet current and future course needs. The building also features another important new space for SAAS- a Learning Commons. The Commons will be dedicated to student collaboration, study, and research, as well as a place to spend free time and lunch.


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