Friday, September 28, 2012

Academy Charter growing in leaps

Photo Courtesy Academy Charter School
Sixth-grade student Jolene Malone, center, helps pour concrete for her school's addition this summer. Her father, Don Malone, is on the right, in the orange safety vest.

A 10-classroom addition at Academy Charter School is on track to be finished by the end of December. That’s great news for the school, which has been operating out of portable buildings almost since it opened in 1996.

 “December 30 is the date on the contract for us to move in. We’ll have one week before school starts up to move out of the portables,” said an excited Academy principal Barbara Gerard.

Gerard said the contractor – Dowland Construction – poured the second-story floor and is finishing the roof. Then it’ll be time to paint and get the windows in before freeze-up. A paved parking lot and hook-up to city sewer services are also on the before-winter checklist. 

The new building will house grades K-5 but it’s just one step toward Academy’s final goal, to have a high school and playground at their site. The school has $2 million from the state legislature for its next phase of construction – 10 additional classrooms for grades 6-8 and rooms for art and Spanish, as well as library space. The library and other classes are currently housed in portables on the 3.77-acre school site.

Gerard said that project would likely be put out to bid this fall and complete sometime next year. She’s hoping it will be ready for fall 2013 classes but it could be another end-of-year completion. Either way, Gerard said she’d take it.

“Next Christmas would be wonderful,” she said.

Down the road, Gerard said the school plans to add grades 9-12 and a theater – perhaps one that the whole community can use, she said. The school doesn’t have funding for those phases yet, she said.

“That’s all in the future,” Gerard said.

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