New Charter School to Move Into Beaufort Boys & Girls Club

New Charter School to Move Into Beaufort Boys & Girls Club (Image 1)

In tonight's education report — a new charter school in the lowcountry has just announced its planned location for its first year.

The Bridges Preparatory school will open next year out of the Beaufort Boys and Girls Club building.

The Bridges charter school-was born after the Beaufort County School District voted to close Shell Point Elementary last year, despite the school being one of the highest performing in the county.

Bridges will be housed temporarily at the Boys and Girls Club and officials from both agencies say the agreement will be mutually beneficial. Bridges will pay rent to the club –which will help the struggling location with revenue and should boost the club's after school membership numbers.

For Bridges, officials say it will serve as the perfect location for year one.

The Boys and Girls Club of Beaufort has been struggling with finances and enrollment for a while now. but there may be hope on the horizon as the new bridges preparatory charter school has announced that its first year in operation will be at the Boys and Girls Club facility. And Bridges officials say the building makes sense for them,

“Availability is one of the things, and space constraints. we needed 18 classrooms, and there just wasn't anything like that in Beaufort,” said Ivie Szalai, Exec. Director.

The charter schools enrollment is already over 300 so space is needed– but the bigger issue is that the curriculum will be non-traditional and very hands-on so the Boys and Girls Club provides a great environment for that.

“Science, technology, engineering and math, that's going to be what we focus on, that'll be our core. Then we'll bring in our reading and language arts through workshops with that, and it's nice and open, and with our inquiry approach that we're going to be doing where the students will be doing a lot of moving a lot of research, it's perfect for that,” said Melesia Walden, Head of School.

But will this impact the services offered at the club? Officials say no, it will provide much-needed revenue and boost enrollment numbers.

“They will still have the Boys and Girls Club there, what we will do is partner with them to do our after-school program, and therefore if our children fill it up, it would only be available to Bridges Preparatory and not other kids in the county,” said Szala.

But club officials believe they can serve the current 380 members as well as additional kids from the school.

Club officials say this will not impact services they offer, and say if anything its good that a school will use the empty building during the day. Adding that the Boys and Girls Club motto is about advancing academics in our community and this will do just that.

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