Nashville charter school celebrates major expansion - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Nashville charter school celebrates major expansion

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One of the first, and most successful, charters schools in Tennessee is beginning a new chapter this school year.

Kipp Academy Nashville has not only expanded to include high school students, but Tuesday unveiled a newly renovated building, featuring more than $19 million worth of upgrades.

In 2005, less than half a dozen fifth graders came to a historic building at Highland Heights to launch one of the state's first charter schools. However, the building was in disrepair.

"This building had bats, I mean lots of bats," Councilman Scott Davis said.

Three years later, when Jesse Register took his first tour of the school as Metro superintendent, the school's building was a mess.

"I remember scratching my head and thinking, I really think they ought to push that building over and start over," Register said. "And look at what we have now."

After a two-year renovation, students at Kipp Academy Nashville have returned to the building with a brand new class of incoming freshman.

Tayondre Jackson, one of the school's founding fifth graders, came back Tuesday to see the building and remind current students how lucky they are.

"In a building that was literally crumbling around us, we worked hard for our future," Jackson said. "When the pipes leaked and the hallways flooded, we worked hard for our future. When the air conditioning didn't work, we did, in order to secure brighter horizons for ourselves."

The school is now able to serve more than 800 students in the new building. The new hallways bear no resemblance to the ones once crawling with rats.

Jackson issued a challenge to students Tuesday.

"It means a lot to me, my classmates and teachers, all of whom have seen this building at its worst," Jackson said. "It means a lot to the current students who can feel comfortable in class without wearing winter coats or appropriating space heaters."

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