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Smith Academy agrees to remain downtown for another year

Smith Academy for Excellence will stay in its current location in downtown Fort Wayne for another year.

The charter school, which opened last year, had hoped to locate southeast of the city, but had some difficulty securing a building. The school signed a lease with St. John Lutheran Church at 729 W. Washington Blvd. to occupy the church’s former school for one year.

SAFE was again looking for a new building, but is working on terms for an agreement to stay in the building for another year, said Corey Smith, assistant principal.

The school is expanding its grade offerings for next year. It is accepting applications for students in grades four through 10. The school is authorized by Grace College and run by education management company Leona Group LLC, which also runs Timothy L. Johnson Academy.

The new lease will take into account the change and include more space to accommodate the additional students. Smith said last year the school enrolled about 70 students. So far, SAFE has registered 95 for the upcoming school year.

The lease also includes use of the cafeteria and gymnasium as well as the playground adjacent to the school’s parking lot.

Smith said the details of the agreement are still being worked out, but the final version will be voted on at the board’s upcoming Aug. 26 meeting.

SAFE is still accepting applications for students, and interested families can fill out enrollment paper work online through the school’s website at