Flint Cultural Center Academy - Taking Learning to a New Level


It was an exciting day for the Flint community when ground was broken in late June at the site of a new, public, nonprofit charter school on the Cultural Center grounds. The Flint Cultural Center Academy is expected to open for the 2019/20 school year and will serve approximately 650 students. The 78,000-square-foot school will feature 37 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen. It will also include an adjacent exhibit and learning space with three multipurpose classrooms that will provide students and the staff direct access to the Flint Institute of Music and Sloan Museum.

According to Mark Sinila, Chief Operating Officer, Flint Cultural Center Corporation (FCCC), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has committed up to $35 million to cover the cost of the school and some enhancements for the Cultural Center, such as the entrance off Robert T. Longway and necessary parking lot improvements. He also points out there is no association between the new charter school and the upcoming millage.

“I am excited for the kids and for the community,” says Sinila, “and also about how this school will have a lasting impact for many future generations.” The students will have daily use of the Flint Institute of Music, Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum, The Whiting, Flint Institute of Arts and the Flint Public Library. “The charter school is the beginning of something new, with enhanced learning opportunities for the students attending,” he says. “Students will have amenities these institutions provide as part of their education on a daily basis. This new and unique cultural exposure takes learning to an entirely new and exciting level.”

Mott Foundation President, Ridgway White, says the proximity of the Cultural Center institutions was a key factor in determining the location for the new school. “The Steering Committee felt that it was vitally important that the school be physically connected to the Flint Institute of Music and Sloan Museum, with access to the core institutions across the street,” says White. “We saw the opportunity to take the Cultural Center assets and imbed them into a school that will give students a world class learning experience that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the region. It’s about creating that spark in a child for life-long learning.” White is looking forward to the day the school opens. “I can’t wait to see kids smiling in the classrooms,” he says. “I can’t wait to see them in the school in the fall of 2019.”

According to Sinila, the Cultural Center institutions will continue to host field trips and conduct outreach programs that provide educational opportunities to students in Flint Community Schools and other districts. The CCC will also oversee the design and construction of the school, which also includes outfitting of the furniture, equipment and technology.

Grand Valley State University approved the school’s charter. EL Education, a national nonprofit organization specializing in K-12 education, will help the academy create a curriculum and culture that supports student engagement, achievement and character. The project’s lead design and construction partners are Flint-based THA Architects Engineers and E & L Construction Group, Inc.