By Brian Fraga / The Herald News
Posted Jan 12, 2018 at 3:01 AM
FALL RIVER — The lights are on at the future home of Atlantis Charter School. The hot water was just turned on the other day.
“No leaks. That’s a good sign,” Mike Lauro, the associate executive director of the Atlantis Charter School, joked as he walked through the school’s new building near the South Watuppa Pond on Tuesday.
The 98,000-square-foot building — designed to accommodate 1,400 students from kindergarten through the 12th grade — is tentatively scheduled to open for classes when students return from their winter vacation on Feb. 26. For the next month and a half, construction and electrical workers will be putting the finishing touches on the building, which features three wings open-concept classrooms, cafeterias, common spaces and a gymnasium.
Administrators and teachers will also be working on the logistics of moving equipment, office furniture and other materials from Atlantis’ three current sites in Fall River to its new facility on Jefferson Street.
“There’s a lot of hard work to be done on the logistics,” said Robert Beatty, the executive director of the Atlantis Charter School.
On Tuesday, Beatty toured the new building with other Atlantis officials. He showed the separate wings that will house the lower school — Grades K-6 — and the upper floors reserved for upper grades. Beatty walked down wide hallways designed with large windows to illuminate those spaces with natural light. He poked his head into a science classroom and pointed out the projector above the white board, which every room will have.
“Like the rest of the building, this represents a big upgrade for students at Atlantis, in terms of wide hallways and classrooms that are close together to be able to facilitate teamwork,” Beatty said. “Our kids and our staff do a fantastic job in the spaces that they have now, so we’re excited to give them a better resource to be able to do even more than what they’ve done so far.”
After more than 20 years in operation as one of Massachusetts’ oldest charter schools, the founders’ vision of a K-12 school with a connection to the waterfront has finally just about come to fruition.
The school’s 40-acre site will provide opportunities for rowing and sailing. Also, officials are planning to build an athletic stadium to support multiple varsity, club, elementary and middle-school sports across the local community.
“Educational attainment is the primary driver in the economic growth of any community, and we applaud Atlantis Charter School for their commitment to expanding their campus and the new and innovative programs that will make a meaningful impact,” Nicholas Christ, president and CEO of BayCoast Bank, said in a prepared statement.
On Tuesday, Atlantis Charter School also announced that it has received an $80,000 gift from BayCoast Bank to support its newly-launched capital fundraising campaign. Atlantis is looking to raise $2.5 million to help fund the construction of the $35 million state-of-the-art campus. Construction began in the Fall of 2016.
“The project is ahead of schedule and under-budget. You can’t ask for much more. We’re excited,” said Patrick Long, of Partners Insurance Group and BayCoast Bank who is also an Atlantis Charter School board member.
Beatty and Lauro said they wanted the project to be as cost-effective as possible and looked for savings wherever they could. Beatty added that the capital campaign will help Atlantis provide students with an optimized learning environment and invest more money directly into academic programs.
“Overall, this is a huge upgrade for all our kids,” Beatty said.
See original article at Southcoasttoday.com