President Announces Transitional Plan
While our students are away for the summer and enjoying their vacation, the Academy support staff is hard at work preparing the campus for the 2019-20 school year. One of the biggest projects facing the Academy this summer is the renovation of Davidson Hall to accommodate the tremendous growth in our Lower School (K-5) grades.
In the 2018-29 school year, the Academy enrolled 44 Lower School students, with Davidson Hall as their home base. This building yielded ample space for the four elementary classrooms, the Accommodated Learning Program office, a tech lab, an art room and a music/after-school care room. At the same time, we enrolled 66 students in the Middle School, locating them in Derrick-Wolfe Hall.
Relocation: Lower School Growth
As we continue accepting students for the 2019-20 school year, our Lower School enrollment may well reach 100 or more. What a blessing this is! We have already hired four new teachers and an Associate Academic Dean, Mr. Steven McCray, to join the rest of our fantastic Lower School team to lead our K-5 Cubs next year.
Our original plan had been to complete the Davidson Hall renovation and classroom expansion over the summer and have this facility ready for school Aug. 12. However, as is often the case with any renovation project, we have been faced with some challenges. One of the necessary tasks in this renovation will be meeting (or exceeding) all building codes, ADA guidelines and fire code standards, such as adding a sprinkler system. Because of these and other factors, it appears Davidson Hall will not be ready for use in the fall of 2019.
We wanted to share with you our transitional plan for the Lower School, which will also affect our Middle School. We are confident that this plan will serve all of our students well while allowing the work on Davidson Hall to continue unencumbered over the next few months.
The temporary location plan calls for all the core Middle School classes to be clustered in the upper south hallway of Cavness-Reed Hall (the Upper School building). This will free up the current Middle School classroom space in Derrick-Wolfe Hall (DWH) to temporarily house our Lower School students. DWH will provide enough space for all of our K-5 classes as well as the Accommodated Learning Program classroom/office and Mr. McCray’s administrative office. The Lower School classes will be set up with age-appropriate furniture and all the features the students enjoyed in Davidson Hall. Wednesday chapel services can be held in Kokernot Gym, just across the street, and parents will still enjoy supervised drop-off at the curb in front of DWH.
Relocation: Middle School to Cavness-Reed
In temporarily relocating the Middle School to the Upper School building, we will be able to provide our sixth-eighth graders with six classrooms as well as a computer lab. One of the classrooms is more than twice the normal size, making it an appropriate space for group projects and mass meetings. Many of the Middle School elective teachers already teach classes on the upper floor of Cavness-Reed, so they will be easily accessible, and students will be assigned upstairs lockers. The Middle School will continue to have Wednesday chapels in Shultz Lecture Hall, across the breezeway from their classroom area. They will also enjoy easy access to the school library.
Our current timeline projects a move of the Lower School back into Davidson Hall during the Christmas break, at which time the Middle School will return to DWH. We will endeavor to keep you apprised of our progress throughout the fall.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support as we plan for unprecedented growth at San Marcos Academy. We consider these “growing pains” a wonderful blessing from God, who has seen fit to send new students and families to His school at SMA. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the plans outlined above, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Bob Wiegand, Academic Dean or Mr. Steven McCray, Associate Academic Dean. As always, please feel free to contact my office, as well.
Dr. Brian N. Guenther, SMA President