Aviation High School Gets Grant, Will Move & Be Re-Named

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by Josh Hart

Thursday morning (March 26th), a press conference was held at Aviation High School’s temporary campus in Des Moines, where a major announcement was made:

The school received a $4 million grant from James Raisbeck, and it will be re-named Raisbeck Aviation High School, and will move to the Museum of Flight in Seattle!

The press conference was exciting – everyone mingled, whilst awaiting the start of the speech.

The principal of Aviation High School, Reba Gilman, started off by talking about Aviation’s mission and some of the work they have done. Everyone seemed anxious to hear who the donor was, but they wouldn’t disclose it yet.

Donnie Dunbar, CEO of the Museum of Flight, spoke after Reba. She spoke about how the museum and AHS are integrated and how they were working together to achieve their mission.

There was still no mentioning of who the big donor was.

Randy Dorn, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, spoke about how excited he was about Aviation High School and that AHS wasn’t just about aviation. It included animation, robotics, and science, among others. He said that he looks for three things in school: Efficiency, Quality, and Innovation.

“You can have quality and efficiency, but innovation is what makes the community great,” Dorn said.

People were getting antsy. The donor’s name would soon be disclosed, but there was one more speaker: John Welch, the Superintendent of Highline School District, had to thank everyone who contributed.

"It will happen!" proclaimed donor James Raisbeck about Aviation High's move to the Museum of Flight.

Than Reba Gilman got up on stage again and announced the big news – Raisbeck Engineering (James and Sherry Raisbeck), and their foundation had pledged $4 million dollars to the construction of the new site of AHS.

“It will happen!” James stated.

He spoke about the crew that was working on it and keep reiterating that it WILL HAPPEN! He plans for the building, located near the Museum of Flight, to be done within three years. The projected finish date is January of 2012.

Since he was the leading donor, the school will now be called Raisbeck Aviation High School. The cost of the project in total is $43.5 million. The cost was estimated in August of last year by Basetti and Highline School District.

They expect to have half the private funds identified by June, and 95 percent of the private funds identified by March of next year. Construction will begin in March of 2010.

They are planning on getting $15 million dollars from Washington State, 15 million from private and non-profit donors, $12 million from the Port of Seattle and Highline School District, and $1.5 million from federal tax dollars.

About James Raisbeck:
Mr. Raisbeck has received many prestigious awards and honors in the field of aviation and engineering, including the Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Living Legends of Aviation award in January 2008. James and his wife Sherry started the James and Sherry Raisbeck Foundation to support education, the arts, and the bio-medical field. In 2007, James and Sherry won the annual Seattle/King County First Citizen Award recognizing extraordinary philanthropy and commitment to local communities, both in human services and the arts.

About The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight exists to acquire, preserve, and exhibit historically significant air and space artifacts, which provide a foundation for scholarly research, and lifelong learning programs that inspire an interest in and understanding of science, technology, and the humanities. The Museum of Flight’s expansion plan includes a space gallery and a commercial aviation gallery. Currently, The Museum’s programs serve more than 120,000 K-12 students each year. More information at www.museumofflight.org.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Josh Hart is The B-Town Blog’s first Intern!

He’s also a 15-year old student at Highline’s “Big Picture High School” in SeaTac.

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One Response to “Aviation High School Gets Grant, Will Move & Be Re-Named”
  1. Katherine says:

    Great job, Josh. Great article!

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