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Renaissance School celebrates 25 years with new classrooms

The Renaissance School has expanded its campus to include a neighboring building.

The expansion, part of the school’s 25-year anniversary celebration, will incorporate new programming, additional classrooms and office spaces, and a center for collaborating with community partners.

“The opportunity to take on the building next door to ours came up really suddenly, which was exciting, so we had to be ready to tackle the project of getting it ready for classroom spaces,” Sara Johnson, head of the Renaissance School, said.

Renaissance School is a college preparatory school for high school students who are “academically and artistically advanced,” according to a statement from the school.

The school, which was founded in 1999, first opened on the Downtown Mall in a small space above a shop, then moved nine years later to its current location on East Jefferson Street.

The current space stretches to fit about 55 students, according to Johnson. The school has been looking to expand for the past few years now, and with the expansion, enrollment can grow to about 100 students.

Announced in July, the expansion adds about eight classrooms and office spaces, according to Johnson. It also frees up room in the current building for bigger lunchroom spaces.

“We were taking carpet out, painting and taking walls down,” Johnson said. “We had two volunteer days, so we had a lot of volunteers coming in helping us get moved in and getting it ready. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it for the first day of school, but we made it.”

The expansion renovations took five weeks, and the arts and humanities classes were moved “immediately,” according to Johnson.

“We have a third floor we haven’t tackled the renovations for yet,” Johnson said.

The third floor will provide space for new computer technology programming and “more innovative forward-looking arts programs,” according to Johnson.

The new building also incorporates space for the school’s partnerships with local organizations and nonprofits. The Community Collaboration Center will “pave the way toward the school’s next growth phase, which will focus on interdisciplinary programs connecting engineering design, computer science and the arts,” according to the school.

Though the center is new, students are not unfamiliar with community collaboration.

“It’s something that we’ve done programmatically with our students for a long, long time, and to give it a more designated formal space has been exciting to do,” Johnson said.

The school’s fall open house is on Nov. 6, when the new expansion will be showcased. Registration is available online.

“We were so rushed to get it open, and now we’re ready to celebrate it,” Johnson said.


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