After three years of operation, which included a year of pandemic education and split site operations, Watsonville Prep School (WPS) moved into its permanent home at 407 Main Street on September 21. Navigator Schools, the parent organization for WPS, first executed a letter of intent with the Hansen Family Trust in early 2021 for the second floor of the former Ford’s and then Gottschalk’s building and was then approved for a special use permit with the City of Watsonville, providing WPS with a lease spanning 42 years.
Downtown developers and building owners William and Neva Hansen worked diligently to make this partnership a success. “Neva and I are excited to finally see this school come to fruition. We couldn't be happier for the families of our community. The energy created by the school will contribute to the revitalization of our historic downtown," said William J. Hansen, Co-Trustee of the Hansen Family Trust. The Hansens provided a significant discount for the first five years of the lease which enabled WPS to afford the space while it slowly grows to TK-8. This discount is valued at approximately $1.6 million over the first five years of the lease.
After working through the challenges of a split site, Navigator was eager to provide a permanent location for the school. “Having such a beautiful building to call home will provide stability and space for our students and families,” said Navigator Schools CEO Kevin Sved, “We are so grateful to the Hansen family for their generosity and commitment to the community of Watsonville. We appreciated being able to work with them and the City of Watsonville to make this dream of creating a family friendly downtown a reality.” John Flaherty, Chair of the Board for Navigator Schools, agreed “This downtown location is an important part of Watsonville's past. We're excited to be making it an important part of Watsonville's future.".”
Watsonville Prep School opened on the campus of E.A. Hall in August 2019 and has been incredibly appreciative of the patience and understanding of the staff, families, and students of E.A. Hall, Mintie White, and Ann Soldo WPS currently serves Transitional Kindergarten through fourth grade and will add a grade each year until it reaches capacity of TK-8th, serving 565 students total.