Heavy equipment is pushing up dirt as construction is underway for two new buildings at Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School.
Executive director Amanda Johnson said one of the buildings will be two stories west of campus that includes a large cafeteria on the bottom floor, a kitchen and kindergarten classrooms and top floor slated for third through sixth grade. The other building will house a library, auxiliary classes, tech lab, two science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes and administrative offices.
Johnson said the main entrance will move to West Second Street, the modular classrooms will be removed from the parking lot and playground will now be parallel to the building.
Johnson said Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School will finance the project. She said construction of the new buildings, renovation of the current facilities and purchasing the property from St. Paul's United Methodist Church should cost $7.1 million. She added some of the money would be raised.
Grinder Taber Grinder out of Memphis is the contractor and Jonathan Tate of New Orleans is the architect.
“We’re excited about it,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have more information on our website. As more starts to happen, we’ll have some updated pictures where people can view the progress. So we’ll definitely be sharing that as we go.”
Johnson said a ceremony is planned for late September where the closing of the purchase from St. Paul's United Methodist Church will take place and details regarding the financing will be announced.
“We’re still actually working on it,” Johnson said. “We haven’t closed the deal just yet. Most of it is financing.”
Johnson did say the new buildings are expected to be ready by the 2021-22 school year.
Currently, Johnson said the foundation is being stabilized for the buildings.
“They’re moving pretty quickly,” she said. “They’re trying to get a lot done before the weather is not as cooperative.”
The coronavirus has not slowed down construction.
“Right now, we’re able to do everything as planned, so we haven’t noticed that COVID has impacted anything to date,” Johnson said.
Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School is currently in its third year. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade are enrolled. One grade will be added each year until the school enrolls students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
More work will have to be done to the facility to provide enough room for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
“It will still be awhile before then because we are just building space for kindergarten through sixth grade,” Johnson said. “We will not have sixth grade next year, but we will have the classroom spaces available.”