The project will consist of adding a new 3-story building to the campus and renovating the existing 28,000 square foot building, which was originally constructed in 1902. The new development will allow the school to expand their highly successful academic program as well as provide much needed improvements to the school and surrounding community, including a new gymnasium, kitchen, and expanded parking and future green space. Abandoned and condemned houses adjacent to the school will be razed to make room for the newer, bigger facility. Stewart & Tate Construction will be employing at least 125 workers for the construction project on any given day.
Helen Thackston Charter School began operations in 2009 and is managed by EdisonLearning. The school has over 585 students enrolled for the 2012-13 year and plans to enroll 775 students at full capacity. Because of the school’s role as an important foundation of stability and hope within its inner-city community, the school’s board and leadership are very pleased that they will remain at the same location.
The renovation and new construction of the HTCS campus is a unique but somewhat complicated solution for an inner city school. First CSPS had to acquire the existing school building from HTCS’ landlord along with four separate residential parcels surrounding the existing building to create a footprint of space large enough to accommodate a significant expansion to the existing school building and site. In addition, an approximately two-acre parcel one block away was acquired to provide adequate parking and future green space.
After preliminary design and construction budgeting was completed, HTCS’ board approved the plan and CSPS successfully completed purchase negotiations with six separate owners, managed the design and entitlement process, and provided HTCS with a compelling economic proposal to develop the new campus. Demolition of the adjacent residential properties has just begun, construction will commence in late September, and the project will be fully completed by July of 2013. HTCS will lease the facility initially, but has already begun plans to exercise its purchase option and acquire the facility as soon as the 13th month following completion. This project successfully demonstrates a creative “infill” approach to develop a large modern educational facility in a dense urban area, combining renovated second-generation space with new construction on an assemblage of surrounding properties.
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