DENVER – West Lake Preparatory Academy, a proposed K-8 charter school, is still set to open in the fall, but plans have changed significantly since the new year.
In 2017, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to the master plan for the Wildbrook residential development, permitting the school to be built on a 10.6-acre portion of the 73-acre site that borders Triangle Circle, Rufus Road and Airlie Parkway. The school’s governing body, the West Lake Education Foundation, announced last year that construction would begin in December 2018.
Ground was never broken, however, and now the school will be built elsewhere.
It was announced June 13 that West Lake will be built on the corner of N.C. 73 and Club Drive, near the Cowan’s Ford Golf Club, with construction slated to begin this fall.
Plans for the 42,611-square-foot school include 33 classrooms, art, science and music rooms and four special education rooms. The school will also include a multi-purpose space to accommodate basketball and volleyball, as well as an exterior fenced play area with artificial grass.
Rather than delaying the school’s opening a second time – it was originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2018 – West Lake will operate on the campus of Holy Spirit Catholic Church on N.C. 16 Business while the permanent facility is under construction.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be on Holy Spirit’s campus, with seventh and eighth grade classes added in subsequent years.
School officials also announced Kimberly Alexander as its founding principal.
“We are very excited to have Ms. Alexander join our team to open our new school,” West Lake Education Foundation board chair Ivonne Reed said in a press release. “Her extensive experience and local knowledge will surely be a tremendous asset for the students and families as we embark on this journey of excellence.”
Alexander is a graduate of North Carolina A&T University, where she earned a master’s degree in elementary education. She later earned a master’s in school administration from UNC Charlotte.
Alexander has spent the past 20 years with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, starting as a third-grade teacher in 1998 and working most recently as principal of Long Creek Elementary School in Huntersville.
West Lake also announced it is in the process of becoming an Apple Distinguished School. In its first year, students in grades three through six will be given iPads, while the younger students will share iPads. The goal is to eventually supply every student with an iPad, which is a requirement of an Apple Distinguished School.
“Our students will learn in a way that allows them to create and collaborate,” Alexander said in a press release. “We’re moving away from the lecture-and-listen model. Once we move into our permanent building, every student starting in kindergarten will have their own iPad. This 1-to-1 technology plan is primarily focused on preparing students from day one to be comfortable and proficient with 21st century learning tools and skills.”
West Lake is accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year. To learn more, visit wlakeprep.org.