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Academy ACL charter brings in modular to help with space issues

       A modular building has been added at the Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning as it copes with nearly maximum enrollment and modern space issues in a building that's a half-century old.
       The nearly 3,000-square-foot portable unit, which officially went into service Dec. 5, has a hallway and the capacity for four rooms, according to Academy ACL Principal Nikki Myers.
       Academy ACL, 2510 N. Chestnut St., is a District 11 K-8 charter school for gifted students. The school district owns the property, but Academy ACL bought the
At the grand opening of Academy ACL's new, 2,880-square-foot modular building Dec. 5, Principal Nikki Myers (right, on ramp by door) welcomes students, staff and parents. Also on the ramp are (from left) Scott Marcy, vice president of Academy ACL's governing board; Andy Unwin, a board director; Julie Ott, board president; the school's hawk mascot; and Sigrid Meadows, business manager.
Courtesy of Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning
modular, using money that it had saved, Myers said. The facility has been placed at the north end of the school's playground area.
       Two modular rooms are currently being used for classes. The remaining space, which could hold two classrooms, has been opened out to form a single “great room,” which Myers described in an e-mail as “flexible space with accordion doors for a variety of uses (to include before/after school care, robotics club, bells class, staff meetings and training, whole-division meetings, special instruction times, etc.).”
       Myers clarified that the modular will ease some, but not all, of the school's space needs. Complicating matters is the permanent building's older design and the school being at near-capacity.
       The building was originally built for Pike Elementary in 1956. D-11 closed Pike in 2009 as part of a cost-saving, multi-school-closure, consolidation process.Academy ACL started in the 2010-2011 school year with about 170 students and has grown steadily ever since.
       “Our maximum enrollment is planned for just under 300 students, and we are approximately 20 students shy of that goal,” Myers elaborated in an e-mail. “As this building was built in the 1950s, it was not designed for the needs of 21st century education, which includes a variety of small-group rooms.”
       Such needs include space for indoor physical education (the theater program often uses the gym now), art storage, books for the library and a science lab, she noted. To address such issues, the school's governing board “is continuing to work on strategic planning for the future,” Myers said.
       School leaders have been working since last May on the modular plan. The initial goal had been to have the unit before the current school year started last August. However, “due to the variety of codes, stages, inspections, etc., the building has taken longer to put into place than we had hoped, but we are looking forward to having its full usage in place in January,” Myers said.
       She added that a student Readathon event earlier in the semester (totaling 146,592 pages over several hours) raised more than $23,000, and "some of that money will support new furniture for the modular, in addition to other projects."

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/16/14; Schools: Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning)

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