For the past three years, students attending have been split up between two campuses. This fall, the entire student body will be back in Highland Park.
Academia Avance Charter School broke ground on a new construction project Wednesday and held an official ground breaking ceremony Thursday afternoon.
“We need to have all the grades together…for the last three years, we don’t fit in this space. We have leased a satellite campus and bussed students to that space,” Executive Director Ricardo Mireles said.
“We get interactions like today, but not on a daily basis. We’ve had lots of different activities and after school events, but still there’s been a schism between the middle school grades and high school grades. This project is going to bring everybody together,” Mireles added.
According to Mireles, Academia Avance is on track to double its current occupancy of 250 students at the school’s main campus in time for the start of the fall semester next year. He also said having its entire student body on campus is paramount for the educational goals Academia Avance has.
“To get to this pivotal moment to create additional facilities to educate this growing population of students is such a feat and to have the funding behind us and the support of the community, it’s just headed for success that way," Jacqueline Loza, President of the Avance Foundation Board said
The Avance Foundation is a newly formed 501c that launched in October, and according to Mireles it is one of the charter’s partners and is developing the Highland Park site.
Construction of the additional facilities will happen over three phases. First was the pre-construction phase, which is coming to a close. The second is moving forward with construction and a resurfaced parking lot, followed by the actual installation of the pre-fabricated buildings.
Besides the Avance Foundation, the school has partnered with Presbyterian San Gabriel, which provided Academia Avance with a 30 year land lease, in addition to Charter School Capital, a finance company that has assisted the school in mitigating state cuts over the past four years.
“There’s some real, tangible, legal corporate structures that are supporting this school and that’s a big step up,” Mireles said. “Without that support, it would’ve been impossible.”
Associated Student Body Vice President Itzel Garcia said, “I just want you guys to know how important this moment is, it’s exactly what Mr. Mireles said, it’s not no longer the beginning, it’s now a step towards a bigger and better Avance.”