July 3, 2023 – West Seattle, WA
Hope Lutheran Church and School has finalized the purchase of the former Seattle Lutheran High School property, with plans to launch a new school campus called “Hope North” to serve area families and the surrounding community who are looking at middle school options for their students.
Hope North will initially be a middle school expansion in Fall 2024, after necessary building improvements are made.
Hope Lutheran School has operated for more than 60 years at its original campus at 42nd Ave SW and Oregon St SW, serving students in preschool through 8th grade. The former Seattle Lutheran High School (SLHS) property is located one block north at 41st Ave SW and Genesee St SW.
SLHS had operated at the location from 1978 until 2022, when the Seattle Lutheran Board of Directors voted to close the school at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. Throughout the existence of SLHS, neighboring Hope Lutheran served as a steadfast supporter and partner in the school’s mission, while utilizing the SLHS gym, parking lot and facilities in a mutually beneficial way.
“This is a huge step of faith for our Hope community,” said Hope Lutheran Senior Pastor Peter Mueller. “This purchase will be a source of great blessing to many people by securing new space in which to pursue the mission God has entrusted to us.”
The SLHS property was owned by the Lutheran High School Association of Washington, which voted in late November 2022 to sell the building and nearby parking lot to Hope. The congregation of Hope Lutheran then unanimously approved the agreement, and the sale was finalized this past week.
Kristen Okabayashi, who is beginning her 14th year as principal at Hope Lutheran School, said the rare chance to purchase a full-sized gymnasium, 14 classrooms and a parking lot is “a life-changing opportunity” for Hope School.
Okabayashi said that in recent years, both SLHS and West Seattle Christian Church “have been generous in sharing gym space to support Hope’s robust PE and athletic programs.” She added that moving Hope’s middle school to the north campus “gives our middle school students the chance to enjoy expanded educational offerings, explore their interests and have a campus of their own,” while also providing space to “expand our well-loved preschool to add multiple classrooms and meet the growing needs of the community around us.”
Jason Grotelueschen, chair of the Hope Lutheran Board of Directors, said that as the school ministry grows, Hope’s leaders will take time to assess the feasibility of adding additional grades and classes in the future, which may include high school.
“It’s exciting to be at this point,” Grotelueschen said, “and we have a lot of great work still to be done.” Grotelueschen said the Hope board and SLHS board have worked closely together, particularly for the past three years, to establish a solid plan for the future.
Patrick Gehring, president of the SLHS board, said that the history of SLHS and its impact on alumni and the surrounding community have left a strong legacy to build on.
“Such a special place,” Gehring said. “I can’t wait to see it once again filled with kids.”
Gehring added that, as part of the agreement to sell the former SLHS property to Hope, a portion of the proceeds will help fund an initial endowment for the Lutheran Elementary Schools Tournament (LEST), to help ensure its longevity and success. LEST is an annual academic and athletic tournament for Lutheran schools in the Pacific Northwest, hosted at Pacific Lutheran University in February.
Hope Lutheran has kicked off a major capital campaign called Hope North: Building for the Next Generation to raise funds for this new mission opportunity. Proceeds from the campaign will serve to reduce the amount of debt incurred for the purchase and to fund crucial improvements to the building and property. For more information and to get involved, please visit our campaign’s webpage.
Sally Heit, Admissions Director at Hope Lutheran School, said that tours and open houses will be held throughout Fall of 2023 at Hope North and the main campus, and applications for Fall 2024 will be accepted during this time. To learn more about Hope North or to schedule a tour, please visit our webpage.
“This is an incredible opportunity for middle students in West Seattle,” Heit said, “and I’m looking forward to seeing where the journey takes us.”