Millennium Charter Academy is ready to begin a project which will add onto the school’s facility at 500 Old Springs Rd.
According to Millennium headmaster Kirby McCrary, work will soon begin on a new wing and an additional gymnasium at the school, something that will be required for the school to follow through with its plans for continued growth.
“It will allow us to expand to four sections per grade level,” said McCrary, adding that will occur by 2025.
About 700 students are educated under the roof of the charter academy’s 75,000 square feet, according to McCrary. The school offers classes through 11th grade, and in the 2017-18 year it will graduate its first class of seniors.
McCrary explained each grade level includes at least three classes, or sections, of students. Some younger grade levels already have four sections. Once the expansion is complete, the school will be able to accommodate about 1,000 students.
“We needed the room,” said McCrary of the 23,000 square feet addition, explaining that the school is ahead of its projected growth rate.
The addition will include classroom space, additional commons areas and the new gymnasium, according to McCrary.
McCrary noted the gymnasium is also needed as the school expands its athletic programs. Some practices are held later than school officials would like, and other practices must take place at off-site venues.
That stated, McCrary said emphasis on construction will go to the construction of new classroom space. The manner in which the new portion of the school will be built — as an addition — is the same manner in which the current structure was built.
The first portion of the school was constructed in 2000, said director of development Lu Anne Browne. Two additions later, the school has its current facility.
Browne noted the school uses a tilt-up method of construction. A concrete pad is poured. Then the framing is built on the pad and lifted into place. It’s a cheaper alternative than traditional “brick and mortar” construction. The cost of the technique brings a project’s cost down to about $119 per square foot. The state average construction cost for school facilities is $182 per square foot.
The latest addition at Millennium will cost about $6.9 million.
The project was slowed in the initial phases due to some hiccups in getting permits for construction, noted McCrary. However, he hopes construction on the new portion of Millennium will be complete by August.
He also explained the new portion of the school will extend east, with the gymnasium sitting where the baseball field is.
McCrary noted the expansion uses only operating dollars. There were no large donors for the project, and the charter academy does not receive funding specifically for its capital needs.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.