New Facility Slated To Open In 2012 At Museum Of Flight
Seattle's Aviation High School last week moved another step
closer to realization of its goal of finding a permanent home on
the campus of the Museum of Flight, with the announcement of a $4
million gift from benefactors James and Sherry Raisbeck. The school
has occupied temporary accommodations since its inception in
Aviation HS is a public school that accepts students from the
Puget Sound area who wish "to pursue their passion for aviation and
aerospace in a learning environment that prepares them for higher
education, citizenship, and work."
The gift was announced at a ceremony held last Thursday. "The
technical world needs the graduates of Aviation High School to form
the basis for future aviation experts in order for the United
States to maintain its lead in advancing the application of
advanced and ever more complex technologies," said James
"By concentrating on the areas of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Aviation High School is
accomplishing what others can only dream about. Sherry is an
educator. I am an engineer. We have both worked hard to achieve the
means to help here, and we are proud and humbled to do so."
Aerodynamicist and entrepreneur Raisbeck is best known for
founding Raisbeck Engineering, a manufacturer of
performance-enhancing kits for business and commercial aircraft.
"If I could have had this kind of an environment in high school, I
probably would have added 10 years to the time of my ability to
make a contribution in aviation," Raisbeck said.
The Museum of Flight, located south of downtown Seattle at the
south end of Boeing Field/King County Airport (BFI), invited AHS to
be part of the expansion of its campus. The Museum has long had an
active partnership with the school, providing robotics classes and
free access to The Museum for students.
"Education is central to the vision and mission of The Museum,"
said President and CEO Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar. "Our mission is well
aligned with that of Aviation High School: to help address a state
and national crisis in STEM education."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is
enthusiastic about the school and the Raisbeck contribution. "It's
reassuring in these tough economic times to see a private group
stepping up to help our schools," he said. "We need schools that
deliver a practical approach to learning, where students can see
how to apply their education in real-world situations."
In a statement released last week, AHS Principal Reba Gilman
said, "We are seeking a total of $15 million from private, federal,
and nonprofit sources and another $15 million from the State
legislature. Thanks to the Port of Seattle and Highline Public
Schools, we already have $12 million in reserve for this project,
and the State legislature has already come through with about $1
million, and we recently received a federal appropriation for about
"The total estimated cost of constructing the school is $43.5
million. We will get there because people like our lead donor
believe in the mission and vision of Aviation High School and they
see strong evidence that our instructional program is making a
difference for students, the workforce, and the communities we
In honor of its largest private donors, the new facility will be
named Raisbeck Aviation High School.