To accommodate a growing enrollment that had the school bursting at the seams, FlexTech High School in Brighton opened a beautiful new addition this month that saw the facility double in size.
FlexTech opened as a public charter school in the fall of 2011 in the old Genoa Woods Conference Center, located next to Cracker Barrel near the intersection of I-96 and Grand River Avenue. The school’s innovative educational model – which combines project-based learning with a flexible schedule and high technology – caught on quickly, and FlexTech’s enrollment began to swell. Going into this school year, the school had a waitlist at several grades.
In order to accommodate all the students who wanted to get into the school, the FlexTech board made the decision to build a three-story addition on the school. Construction began last summer, and the new facility held its ribbon-cutting on Jan. 18. Students also moved into the new space that week, and began taking classes in the new facility.
The addition is 14,000 square feet, which more than doubles FlexTech’s size, bringing it to 27,000 square feet total.
There are 10 overall new spaces available for instruction, activities, conferences and more, as well as one new office and a new IT space. The new addition also includes a very large art studio space and a new workout space for the PE/Health teacher to use to further develop that program.
“I’m beyond thrilled that we were able to double the square footage of our school so we can accommodate the overwhelming demand we’ve recently experienced for students to attend our school,” said school founder and Director of School Leadership Jim Perry. “While maintaining a waitlist is a testament to the success of our school, we’d much rather be able to offer a FlexTech education to these students rather than have them sit on a waitlist hoping a space becomes available.”
A number of dignitaries were on hand for the ribbon-cutting, including State Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton); Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) President Dan Quisenberry; Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam McConeghy; and officials from the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University, FlexTech’s authorizer. Dozens of community members, parents, graduates and students were also on hand for the event.
School Leader Ryan Gillis, who has been at FlexTech since the beginning, was thrilled to welcome the community in to see the new space. He said the newly expanded facility will be a huge benefit to students.
“FlexTech High School has never lacked passionate educators or creative and motivated students, but something we have always struggled with is the amount of space we have available,” Gillis said. “With this expansion, we have removed that obstacle and created so much more potential for students to learn and engage in authentic, relevant learning experiences.”
Perry said the new facility also puts FlexTech on solid footing for the future.
“Our building addition is a considerable achievement as we were not only able to double the size of the building but we were able to purchase the newly renovated space instead of continuing to rent this facility,” Perry said. “In the charter school world, this is significant because charter schools are not allowed to use local bond money to finance facilities like the traditional public schools can do.
“This building addition would not have been possible without the strong partnerships that the FlexTech High School board of directors and faculty has developed with community organizations, private investors and the building owners. We all came together and said we want to make this happen because we all share a common commitment to provide high quality educational opportunities for adolescents in the community. We all value public choice in education and see the value to the larger community to have several excellent choices for public high schools.”
For more on FlexTech High School, visit flextech-hs.org.
“The opportunity to excel in both athletics and academics” – read this blog from a FlexTech graduate on how the school was the perfect fit for her.