A charter school that has operated for 10 years in School District 49 is breaking ties with its education service provider, moving into independent management and building a new school.
“It’s a unique situation,” said Brandon Henry, spokesman for Imagine Classical Academy, a K-8 school at Peterson Road and Dublin Boulevard.
Imagine Classical Academy will change its name to Grand Peak Academy in July and open a $21 million building at 7036 Cowpoke Road in the Forest Meadows development off Black Forest and Vollmer roads, northeast of Colorado Springs.
The groundbreaking was held last week on the 65,000-square-foot building, which includes a regulation-size middle school gym.
“We haven’t had a middle school sports program because of the current facility, so we’ll have basketball and volleyball next school year,” Henry said.
D-49 is leasing the 10-acre site to the school, and bond issues will pay for the building, he said.
The new school will be larger than the existing one and accommodate at least 100 more students.
Imagine Classical Academy has 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade this school year, Henry said. The new school will open with 800 students in preschool through eighth grade, with room to grow.
Planned construction later would add 25,000 square feet, for a total of 90,000.
The rigorous, classical-style Core Knowledge curriculum will remain the same, he said, and students and parents won’t notice much difference in terms of daily business.
School leaders decided to part ways with Imagine Schools because they felt the management services weren’t worth the expense, Henry said.
“The contract the original board signed didn’t allow for an exit, so we were on the hook to pay them indefinitely, and it wasn’t servicing our staff and students to spend that money every year,” he said.
The company owns the school property that Imagine Classical Academy occupies.
Henry said school officials started the process “to find out what was wrong with the school financially” 2½ years ago and decided to drop the service provider.
The new school is a few miles from the existing building, in an area that doesn’t have other D-49 schools, Henry said.
The existing school is one of several D-49 schools in the neighborhood.
“We’re excited to be part of the Forest Meadows community and serve an underserved area of D-49,” he said.
“We’re hoping families will follow us. We want to give students the ability to have the elementary and middle school experience and stay with us from kindergarten through eighth grade.”
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