Greener Home for Wissahickon Charter

New facility near Awbury Arboretum will advance school's environmental focus.

Photo of sign at construction site by Sandy Smith.

Photo of sign at construction site by Sandy Smith.

The Wissahickon Charter School in the northwest part of the city says its mission is “to provide a community of learning with an environmental focus that stimulates the child’s intellectual, social, and character development.”

The school’s founders planned to use the Wissahickon Valley as an extension of its classrooms but were stymied in their search for a suitable site near the park. Since its opening in 2002, it has operated out of space in the former Atwater Kent radio factory at 4700 Wissahickon Avenue in Germantown’s southwest corner, hard by the Roosevelt Expressway.

Ground broke last fall on a new home for the school that will finally provide it the access to nature it has long sought.

Foundations are now in place for the new school on Washington Lane just east of Chew Avenue, on the Mt. Airy side of the Germantown-Mt. Airy border. The site is across the street from SEPTA’s Washington Lane Regional Rail station – and next to that station is the Awbury Arboretum.

The new school is the latest in Studio Agoos Lovera’s extensive portfolio of schools it has designed in Philadelphia and environs. Some of its other school facilities, such as The Philadelphia School in Center City, also endeavor to blend the built and natural environments.

The new school is set to open in time for classes that start this fall.