Faith Academy K-8 facility plans get additional classrooms, library space

Published 12:01 am Friday, May 6, 2022

FAITH — Faith Academy Charter School is forging ahead with plans for a new school building that includes more space than originally planned.

The school is currently housed in the former Faith Elementary School facility and several mobile units leased on the property to serve the charter’s 500 students. The school will add an additional mobile classroom unit this summer to house additional students as it adds eighth grade in the coming school year.

The long-term plan for the school is to build a new facility to house the elementary and middle school grades and move the high school grades into the former Faith Elementary building.

The building will be renovated to accommodate the high school students

The school would eventually enroll more than 1,000 students K-12.

Faith Academy Board Chair George Wilhelm said when the board reviewed the original site plan it did not feel it quite fit the school’s needs. The board requested the 40,000-square-foot facility add more classroom space and extra room for the library.

In March, the Post reported the cost estimate was expected in the $15 million to $16 million range, but Wilhelm said with the additions it will likely raise the cost by a couple million dollars, though the academy does not have a final cost yet.

Wilhelm said paying for the additions now is expected to be more cost efficient in the long run.

“As we looked at it, we realized how much more it would cost to add things in the future,” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm said the final drawings the new building should be finished around the end of the month.

The new facility is expected to include a full-size, regulation high school gym and a multipurpose room that can sit 250 students.

On paying for the project, Wilhelm said the school has to be frugal with the money it is awarded by the state and plans to announce new fundraising efforts at the end of the month.

The school is on track to have its new facility up and running by the time it welcomes its first freshman class for the 2023-2024 school year. The school still has to work out all the details of its high school programs.

Once the new building is complete, the school will retire the mobile units. Wilhelm said they have only been leased through next year and the original building has a capacity of 350, which is sufficient for the high school grades.

Wilhelm said the board has not determined the specific technical programs the school will offer, but plans are to have college preparatory courses and technical courses as well.

The school opened for its first year of classes in the fall. It filled every seat it had available and generated a waiting list via this year’s lottery as well.

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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