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Seattle-based Jim Thorpe, Brings "Classroom in the Sky" to Life for Villa Academy

Apr 1

Summit Capital Partners and Seattle-based founder Jim Thorpe are committed to positively impacting their local community.  A recent example is their assistance in the development of "The Class in the Sky" an outdoor learning structure at Villa Academy in Laurelhurst. Jim's vision was to build a structure that provided the ability to learn outside despite weather conditions. 

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Completed in the summer of 2020, the Villa Treehouse is the first permitted treehouse in the city of Seattle. The project's goal was to provide various outdoor learning experiences, activities, and projects despite the weather. The 1,500 square-foot structure arches over a wooded slope on the campus of the Villa Academy, a private, Catholic PreK through eighth-grade school located in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. The first-of-its-kind structure can house two different classes of 15 students at a time and is meant for and accessible by students of all ages. While the original intent of the Villa Treehouse was not to provide expanded learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will undoubtedly help the school conduct classes with social distancing in mind.

Due to the pandemic, Summit Capital Partners could not celebrate and announce the completion of the project as they wanted. But the students of Villa Academy will certainly enjoy the many benefits of expanded outdoor learning at the Villa Treehouse. The Villa Treehouse took five years from start to finish -- including all fundraising, permits, planning, and construction. Jim and Kim Thorpe donated $100,000 of their own money to fund the development and overall structure of the project.


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The construction team at Summit Capital built the Villa Treehouse over 12 months. It took an additional two years to finalize and develop the classrooms that could hold a total of 30 students. The new outdoor classroom fits in perfectly with the Villa Academy's focus on outdoor learning.

Throughout the school's campus, students can explore the ecosystem of a forest rich with old-growth trees. They release salmon fry at the school's lakefront and even examine water samples using a microscope, study birdlife throughout the campus and gather various data points from the organisms living in the school's organic garden.


Jim Thorpe Seattle
Jim Thorpe's Contribution: "Treehouse in the sky"


As the school wrote in its 2016 Fund-A-Need booklet, the Villa Treehouse would be "accessible from the ground level with a formalized overlook and gathering space to take advantage of views of Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington.”

"In childhood, treehouses hold sway over the imagination. They provide shelter but also a respite from an adult-sized world. They give kids a vantage point from which to see the world as it sometimes appears in dreams."

Jim Thorpe and the team at Summit Capital Partners were honored to bring the idea of a treehouse to life from the conceptual stages. They look forward to continuing positively impact the community. 


About Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe Seattle

Jim Thorpe is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and a real estate expert with over 30 years of experience in real estate development t. He has sourced over a billion dollars in real estate and is a master of acquisitions and off-market real estate. He is a past member of the Board of Trustees at Villa Academy and the owner of Summit Capital Partners LLC. He recently launched a mentorship program, Summit Now to share his passion for real estate and assist others in reaching their goals. 


About Summit Capital Partners

Summit Capital Partners is a real estate development and management firm based in Seattle, WA, dedicated to finding and creating abundant opportunities. Our focus and expertise are in developing risk-adjusted solutions, for both quick deals and long-term portfolio strategies. We continually strive to positively impact the neighborhoods and communities in which we operate