Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Elementary Arts Academy Planned at Racquetball Club

Allentown's Racquetball Club, shuttered for nearly three years, is being prepared for a new kind of clientele. Instead of of balls slamming along walls or whirring treadmills, the singing and dancing of children will echo through the halls. This downtown Allentown property, located at 601 Union Street, will be the home of the Arts Academy Elementary Charter School.

Dr. Thomas Lubben, who will chair the Board of Directors, announced this new elementary school during a July 22 news conference at the racquetball club. He was joined by other Directors, including business leaders like Lee Butz and Dennis Coffin, fitness consultant Cyndi Po, dance advocate Janet LaCava and educator Beth Peters.

With this elementary school, the Lehigh Valley now has arts schools from Kindergarten through high school. The Arts Academy Charter Middle School is located in Salisbury Township, and the Charter High School for the Performing Arts is located in Bethlehem. Though unaffiliated, it is expected that many who attend the Arts elementary school will wish to continue with the Arts Academy middle and high schools.

Beginning in September of 2014, as many 500 students in grades K-5 will trickle into what were once 16 racquetball courts. Those will be converted into 30 class rooms. Class sizes will be small. Kindergarten and First Grade will be about 15 students per class. Second through fifth grade will be approximately 20.

This school will mean 50 new jobs for fully certified teachers and other personnel. Applications are being taken now.
The charter will be sought from the Allentown School District, but students will be sought from surrounding school districts.

Calling the location "truly ideal," Dr. Lubben noted its location near the Baum School of Art, Allentown Museum, Community Music School and the Parkettes. In addition, a 75-space parking lot will make bus drop off and pick-up much easier than at other schools.

The school will lease, instead of owning the facility with a 30-year lease with rent starting at $400,000 per year and growing to $550,000.

In addition to their regular curriculum, arts academy students will have two hours instruction each week in dance, theatre, visual art, and both instrumental and vocal music. At least once a month, they'll also visit the Steel Ice Center for figure skating.
Janet LaCava, Beth Peters, Lee Butz, Tom Lubben, Cyndi Po and Dennis Coffin

12 comments:

chinese buffet said...

Funding another art school in the area is a waste. Why not a stem based school? Or chinese language school?

Anonymous said...

Who owns the building, John Brinson?

Is he OK with taking government / taxpayer dollars?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The building is owned by some corporation, which I assume (perhaps incorrectly) is his. But I don't have much respect for Brinson. It's not his conservatism, which I could respect. He is a religious bigot.

Anonymous said...

After governments went into the health club business and squeezed his market, its funny he's now collecting rent from government - and lots of it. Good for him. Don't bounce the checks.

Anonymous said...

The rent seems awfully high, just another typical Allentown deal.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a bullshit charter school to me sucking even more money out of public education.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The teachers' union speaks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want to make that accusation, you;'ll have to sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Not a teacher. I just value public education and don't feel we need to suck public funds to teach 6 year olds how to dance.

It's a money grab.

Anonymous said...

If public teachers provided a sound education charter schools would not be needed. Public school teachers don't seem to answer to anyone.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree... charter schools wouldn't be needed in Allentown if public education wasn't so bad....we need more passionate educators in which these charter schools are providing.