Tacoma School of the Arts will be trading places in downtown Tacoma this fall.
The Tacoma School Board on Thursday approved a lease for added space for the school to occupy the second floor of the historic Post Office/Courthouse building at 1102 A St. The space will house SOTA classrooms and administrative offices, which are now at 1818 Tacoma Ave. S. and in another downtown building.
The school board agreed to lease the space from Power Property Consultants for a little more than $1 million over the course of five years.
District operations officer Sam Bell said the new space will give SOTA added classrooms it has been missing since the school stopped using classroom space at Urban Grace Church, following a rent increase there. It will also consolidate SOTA operations into three buildings, from its current four.
He said the school district, which owns the building on Tacoma Avenue, hopes to lease or sell that space.
The school district also owns space occupied by SOTA at 1950 S. Pacific Ave. and owns the inside space (an arrangement similar to that of a condominium) used by SOTA at the old Ted Brown building on Broadway. SOTA will continue to use both those buildings.
The move will consolidate SOTA programs into three buildings that will be accessible by the downtown Link light rail system, Bell added. It will represent a net gain of about 9,000 square feet of space.
Board members asked if the new lease was tied to their recent decision to allow freshmen at SOTA for the first time in the fall, and to cap SOTA enrollment at 500 students.
Bell said the move was based on a 500-student enrollment.debbie.cafazzo@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8635