Four men have been arrested at Seattle Public Schools’ Horace Mann building, which has been occupied by community groups.
The district has a lease agreement with the groups, now known as the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation, to rent space in another district building a few miles away, the Columbia Annex. Some individuals have left, but others have remained. They have not been paying rent.
The district has wanted them out of Horace Mann in part so it can renovate that building. Their presence has cost the district an estimated $1,000 a day in delayed construction work.
On Nov. 7, Seattle schools superintendent Jose Banda informed those remaining that they were now considered to be trespassing. The next day, he met with the mayor’s office about the situation.
The district has cut off electricity and water to the building, which is at East Cherry Street and 24th Avenue.
Those who remained inside had been using a generator for power. The arrests were made after the district asked police to intervene.
The district closed Horace Mann four years ago because of reduced enrollment, and it relocated the Nova Alternative High School to the Meany Middle School building.
But with enrollment now swelling, Meany is needed as a middle school, so the district wants to return Nova to the Horace Mann building next fall.
Construction to renovate the 1901 building and add classroom space was supposed to have begun Sept. 1.