The two new buildings under construction at Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School are quickly moving closer to being ready for the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year.
Executive director Amanda Johnson provided tours of the facility recently. She pointed to classroom and amenities and said the new entrance will be off Second Street.
“There will be a nice gate here,” said Johnson about the entrance, adding office space and a conference room will be nearby.
The new buildings will include the library, a tinkering lab and kindergarten classrooms.
“We’re not going to have sixth grade next year, but we’ll have space when we do have them the following year,” Johnson said.
“The kindergarten classrooms do have restrooms in them and there will be a teaching hall with a smart board and then, obviously, furniture and lots of little people come August.”
There will be three kindergarten classrooms for 25 students a piece. Twelve classrooms will be upstairs in the new building.
The 2021-22 school year will start Aug. 2.
“We expect everything to be ready for the first day of school,” Johnson said. “Typically, we start earlier in the summer. This year, we pushed it back just a little bit to give ourselves a little more time to make sure the building was ready.
“The new space, along with our existing building, will provide enough classroom space for scholars in kindergarten through sixth grade once we get there.”
Johnson said the old cafeteria in the already existing building will be used for indoor play space.
“We’re really excited about the new building,” Johnson said. “It definitely is going to give us an opportunity offer some additional programming and to welcome more scholars to Clarksdale Collegiate.”
Johnson said there is a wait list for students who want to enroll for first through fifth grade. However, she said there are approximately 15 spots available for kindergarten.
“We are also renovating the existing building,” Johnson said. “So the existing building where we have been having class will house or first and second graders next year. It is getting an uplift as well – new floors, new doors, new paint, all of that. So we’re really excited about that.”
May 19 is the last day of school, but Johnson said the children are learning virtually for the end of the school year to get a start on the renovation process for the existing building.
There is still work that needs to be done on the new buildings.
“Obviously, there are still some flooring that needs to be done, some cleanup that needs to be done,” Johnson said. “There is finishing up the ceiling, the drop tiles and, also, there are some bigger equipment pieces that need to be installed, like the kitchen, for example. Most of that equipment hasn’t arrived and been installed yet.”
The school has been using what was previously St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at 1012 West Second Street. The school recently purchased the property. There was enough space for kindergarteners through fourth graders, but with one grade being added each year, there was a need for new buildings. The two new buildings will allow there to be enough space to hold kindergarteners through sixth graders. Enrollment will go up through fifth grade next year and there is expected to be 475 students.
The school will keep adding one grade until eighth graders are able to attend. Additions are also expected to be needed before seventh graders are enrolled.
Grinder Taber & Grinder Inc. out of Memphis is handling the construction and Office of Jonathan Tate out of New Orleans is the architect.