Faith Academy Charter School finalizing plans for expansion

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, March 3, 2022

FAITH – A committee working on Faith Academy’s new building expects to finalize the floor plan of the 40,000-square-foot project next week.

Academy board chair George Wilhelm said the committee is finalizing the placement of all the rooms and a main point of discussion is where the library will be located.

The new building will house the school’s K-8 grades and the existing school, the former Faith Elementary School, will be for the charter’s high school grades. Currently the school serves grades K-7 and will add a new grade each year until it hits the full K-12 range.

The charter plans to break ground on the new project this summer so the school can be complete. Wilhelm could not give a precise estimate on the cost, but he said the school anticipates a $15-16 million range on construction cost.

Hubrich Contracting, a Durham-based firm that specializes in school and commercial construction, is working with Faith Academy.

Wilhelm said the move to a single large building for the K-8 rather than the smattering of buildings that make up the current facility will help keep the kids contained in one area.

The trend in school construction in the 21st century, particularly for schools serving younger students, is to reduce the number of buildings, entrances and segmentation. This is intended to improve security by better controlling how students can come and go and improving visibility inside schools.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools is tackling the same issue at the moment as it looks to create its own K-8 between Knox Middle and Overton Elementary. Knox has an unusual open campus design.

Faith Academy outgrew its existing facility before it opened. It enrolled 500 students and built modular units on site to accommodate everyone for its inaugural school year, which started in August. It is adding about 100 students with the additional grade level and bringing in another modular unit for that growth.

The weighted lottery to get a seat at the school closed Monday. There were 400 people who signed up for 100 available seats at the school. The school will hold a live drawing for the lottery on March 12 in its library.

“If we were to open up all of our grades with more classrooms, I feel pretty confident right now we could fill another classroom per grade level without an problem,” Wilhelm said, noting there are only a handful of seats opening in some grade levels because almost every student decided to come back next year.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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