The Academy of Warren broke ground on a $9.7 million expansion of its existing school facility last week that will also include approximately 100,000 square feet of interior updates.
The school is located on East Eight Mile Road in Warren.
The revitalization of the building is occurring in tandem with updates to student enrichment programs with the goal of implementing a competitive curriculum in a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment for students. The construction project is in partnership with Equity Schools and Sachse Construction.
As part of the remodeling, 36 classrooms will undergo renovation to install smartboards, updated furniture, modern teaching equipment, and new windows. A state-of-the-art library will include seminar rooms, tutoring offices, a computer lab, an audio-visual studio, family lounge, and business center.
“The students and parents of Academy of Warren know that we, as a whole, are family. Not only are these renovations necessary for the physical maintenance of our buildings, but we have confidence they will enhance the learning outcomes of our students and make our AoW family even stronger,” said Oronde Kearney, chief academic officer of AoW. “We are looking forward to this fresh start for our community.”
Other improvements will include new science labs, dining hall, teaching kitchen, black box theater, maker space, student commons, climbing walls, and faculty coworking rooms. The building expansion creates a 53% increase in occupied space to implement AoW’s COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures. The additional space fosters a healthier and safer environment for students with improved ventilation and air quality, according to a release from the school.
A new 7,000-square-foot open space with natural light in the center of the building, which faculty dubbed the “Learning Street,” will serve as a dynamic space for different modalities to adapt to the independent learning styles of each student. The Learning Street features quiet nooks for reading and solo work, and presentation spaces to facilitate group work and social activities.
“Equity Schools has been helping great schools like AoW expand and enhance their learning environments for more than 20 years,” said Richard Murray, president and founder of Equity Schools. “Our collaboration with Mr. Kearney and the AoW team over the past year to prepare for this significant remodel has been incredible, and the passion these educators have for their students will shine through our designs.”
With physical updates to AoW, the administration is also implementing new student enrichment activities including extended school days and an enhanced physical education program. The school will see expansions in its art, music, technology and science courses.
Outside the school, five acres of asphalt will be replaced by green spaces featuring a 25,000-square-foot fieldhouse dome (with a gym and indoor turf field) and two acres for an outdoor field complete with bleachers and goalposts. Hawk Square, a half-acre outdoor combination tennis and basketball court, will include a green space with grills for picnics and tailgating events for the school community and Warren neighbors and community groups. And a new two-acre Discovery Park at the school’s entry will include student gardens and a student-designed playground.
“This building expansion has allowed us to increase our enrollment capacity creating incredible opportunities to reach more students in the greater Warren community and grow our AoW family even larger in a safe, supportive way,” Kearney said. “We redesigned AoW’s student enrichment programs to adapt to the needs of all children and are looking forward to the impact that has on currents and future families.”
Construction began on the expansion Aug. 17, with the goal of completion in September 2021.