French-American School buys land to expand

The French American School of Puget Sound, (FASPS) has announced that it purchased a 2.12-acre plot of land near their current campus at the north end of Mercer Island last October for $2.8 million.

School officials say the land will be used to enlarge the school to meet growing enrollment and provide flexibility in the years ahead.

The land, at 3809-3901 97th Ave S.E. is accessible from S.E. 40th Street. It is directly behind the Stroum Jewish Community Center.

The school presently  sits on land leased from the SJCC. The lease expires in 2029.

Student enrollment at FASPS has increased every year since its inception in 1995 and the school is now operating at nearly full capacity with 405 students.

School officials predict that even more students are coming.

Head of School Eric Thuau, Board of Trustees Chair Susan Griesse, and a team of internal and external stakeholders will spend the upcoming year conducting research to assess potential development options.

“Having an opportunity for our institution to own land is an important benchmark as we prepare to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2015,” said Thuau.

Islander Debbie Newell, the treasurer of the Board of Trustees, was also involved in the purchase.

“The new land purchase gives FASPS much more flexibility than our current lease does. We can plan for long-term growth without the risk that we may lose the property.”

Newell has two sons that completed the FASPS program before moving on to Mercer Island public schools. “We chose to send our sons to FASPS because the French system of education has high expectations of the students, and they live up to those expectations, she said.

Currently, FASPS is home to 68 students from Mercer Island as well as students from Seattle, the Eastside, and abroad.

The school is an accredited member of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the French Ministry of Education.


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