A local private school that teaches dyslexic students is putting the finishing touches on a sizable expansion project.
The New Community School at 4211 Hermitage Road has nearly doubled the size of its gym with a $5.2 million renovation and addition of an extra 10,000 square feet.
The upgrades include new locker rooms, a weight room and classrooms among other facilities that join an existing gym. As part of the project, the facility known as the Activities Center has been rebranded as the Wellness Center.
Students began to use the building’s newly constructed section at the beginning of this school year.
New Community School Director of Development Dan Stackhouse said it pursued the project so the gym would better accommodate the growth of its student population.
“The Activities Center was built in the 1990s when our enrollment was roughly a third of what it is today,” Stackhouse said. “We have far outgrown the existing space in terms of enrollment but also in the size and scope of our health and wellness programs.”
New Community has an enrollment of 220 students in grades five through 12. That’s up from 91 students in 2012.
Head of School Nancy Foy said the enlarged Wellness Center will give the school space to further expand its curriculum. It also consolidates the school’s various health-related programs in one place.
“We can continue to expand our programming with new course offerings,” Foy said, adding that the school could probably add 20 more students with its current facilities.
The gym facility is used for physical education and health classes, as well as strength and conditioning and movement-based programs. The school’s team sports program includes basketball, soccer and golf.
Construction on the project, which brings the building to a total of 22,000 square feet, began in November 2021. The expansion was a pre-pandemic plan.
“We have been planning this since before COVID. We launched the quiet phase of our capital campaign beginning in mid-to-late 2019 and we pretty much put everything on hold for a year,” Stackhouse said.
Poole and Poole Architecture designed the project. KBS is the general contractor.
Stackhouse said the project cost will be covered by donations. He said fundraising is still underway but there’s just a small amount left to secure to cover the project. Most of the project cost covers construction and equipment, but some is earmarked for an endowed fund to sustain operations at the facility.
New Community plans to dedicate the building in early November. The project follows the school’s construction of Founders Hall, a 15,700-square-foot academic building, which opened in 2017.
New Community is a nonprofit private school for children with dyslexia and similar learning difficulties. The school opened in 1974 at a local church before it moved to its current campus in the early 1980s.
The campus is about 7 acres with around 66,000 square feet of educational space.
New Community’s tuition for the 2022-2023 school year is $33,200 for grades 5-8 and $33,900 for grades 9-12, per its website.