Bridges Academy breaks ground on new building

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bridges Academy middle school building are, from left, Kelly Cranfill, teacher; Kim White, business manager; Shannon Pruitt Caudill, chief operating officer; Merry Armstrong Lowe, director/principal; Geri Gilliam, teacher; Phillip Norman, board of directors chairman; Randy Osborne, nutrition/maintenance coordinator; John Hall, board member; and Brad Bledsoe, contractor.

STATE ROAD — Bridges Academy officials broke ground on the site of a new middle school building Thursday morning.

Board Chairman Phillip Norman dug into the fresh dirt brought in to raise the construction site level at 10:30 a.m. Board member John Hall, contractor Brad Bledsoe, Principal/Director Merry Armstrong Lowe, Chief Operating Officer Shannon Pruitt Caudill and other academy staff participated in the ceremony.

Norman said school officials, staff and students are excited about the new building. “We’ve actually outgrown the space that we’re in,” he said, “and growth is always a good thing.”

Recently elected to his second term as board chairman, Norman said Bridges Academy is an asset to the community in that it offers students more one-on-one instructional time. “That’s one reason I’m involved in it,” he said.

Before the charter school was opened, Norman said the closest school of its kind was in Winston-Salem.

Bridges Academy students are excited about their school, he said, adding that one of this year’s eighth-grade graduates said she wished the academy had a high school.

Hall, who heads up the board’s strategic planning committee, said the new building will be a great asset to the school and the community as a whole. “One of our long-range goals is to grow the enrollment,” he said, “and this gives us the ability to do that. Hopefully in the future, we can add another building.”

Lowe said the 3,200-square-foot building will include three classrooms, a resource/support services room, an office, two male and female bathrooms for students and staff bathrooms.

School officials said the building is expected to be completed by the start of the 2015-2016 school year on Aug. 26. Bledsoe, who said the contract is the biggest of his career, said he plans to meet the deadline.

Lowe said middle school staff members are very excited to have their own building.

Middle school teachers for Bridges Academy are Linsey Miller, Adam Lowe and Perry Lloyd. Assistant teachers are Robin Mason and Travis Jenkins. “I’m very pleased with our staff,” Lowe said.

Special Services Director Danny Haire said the fact that Bridges Academy’s enrollment continues to grow “is a big deal in the charter school environment.”

In fact, enrollment at the school has grown to the point that new students wanting to enroll in the 2015-16 school year were entered into a lottery drawing to see who would be accepted, which is the procedure mandated by state law.

Kathy Chaffin can be reached at 336-258-4058.

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