ENCORE looking to renovate 7th Ward building

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ENCORE Academy will likely be able to get its new building in the 7th Ward ready through renovation rather than new construction, school leader Terri Smith said at a meeting of the school’s board on Tuesday.

The second-year charter school, which offers a music and arts curriculum alongside its academic curriculum, is planning a move from its shared Uptown location with Crocker Technology and Arts School at 2301 Marengo St. to the former site of John A. Shaw Elementary School at 2518 Arts St. in the St. Roch neighborhood. School officials are hoping the building will be ready by the 2014-15 school year.

The building was listed for $200,000, but ENCORE put in an offer for $135,000, which was accepted in September, school leader Terri Smith said.

The building was damaged by the floodwaters following Hurricane Katrina and a subsequent fire on the second floor.

On a recent walkthrough, school officials found no damage to the school’s concrete beams and terrazzo flooring. With no significant structural damage, the entire building will not need to be demolished.

Much of the building will still need to be renovated, however, including the roof, windows, electrical, plumbing and beyond.

Smith likened the project to the recent renovation of the Colton School on St. Claude Avenue, where the building was stripped down to the facade before being reconstructed.

The new school will provide enough space for at least 22 classrooms, with more possible, Smith said.

Plans for the new location also include demolishing another structure on the property. In the space, the school plans to build a 4,000-square-foot  arts center.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $4.9 million, according to school officials. The school is working with Washington, D.C.-based firms TenSquare and the Charter School Development Corp. to identify financing.

In other business, the board also signed off on the school’s annual financial audit. The school was given an “unqualified” opinion, which means there were no findings against it.

Smith also reported to the board on the school’s second Family Friday event, which allows students to showcase their skills in the arts for their kin. The finale featured all of the school’s roughly 320 students clad in purple, and performing a dance routine.

 

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