Aristoi Classical Academy breaks ground on new K-12 campus in Katy

Aristoi Classical Academy broke ground on its new 22-acre campus on Morton Road. This image depicts the campus. Aristoi Classical Academy broke ground on its new 22-acre campus on Morton Road. This image depicts the campus.[/caption]

Aristoi Classical Academy broke ground May 14 on Phase 1 of its four-step master plan to construct a new, 22-acre K-12 campus at 5610 Morton Road in Katy.

John Paul Chambers, Jr., the charter school’s development coordinator, said while this is just the first phase of a five-to-seven-year process, the ground breaking was a stride toward progress for the institution.

“[The ceremony] was a collaboration between the school board, administration and employees here at the school,” Chambers said. “It was well attended. It was a beautiful day, [the] sun was shining and it lasted about 45 minutes.”

Officials and staff from Aristoi Classical Academy break ground May 14 on the school's new campus. Officials and staff from Aristoi Classical Academy break ground May 14 on the school's new campus.[/caption]

The academy is an open-enrollment, tuition-free charter school founded in 2006 that operates out of two different campuses in Katy. The original campus—located on 11th Street near Avenue D—currently houses kindergarten through fifth grades, and the school has leased space from Alief Baptist Church on Avenue A for the last two years to accommodate students in sixth through 10th grade.

The Alief Baptist location will add an 11th grade class in the fall, and then the school will move students in sixth through 11th grades to the Morton Road campus in the fall of 2017. Twelfth grade will also be added in fall of 2017.

The elementary school ranks of the academy will join the upper grade levels at the Morton Road campus once Phase 2 is completed. Construction on Phase 2 is expected to begin in the next two to three years.

Phase 1 includes the construction of a 20,000-square-foot multi-purpose building and gymnasium, a 4,000-square-foot kitchen and cafeteria, portable classroom buildings and an athletic field. The total cost of Phase 1 of the campus, including the land purchase, is estimated at nearly $10 million. Chambers said that construction is expected to begin in late June to early July.

Funding for the campus had to be financed through the sale of municipal bonds because charter schools are not eligible for state facilities funding and may not apply for the use of local taxpayer revenue, Chambers said.

He said the process has been rewarding.

“Just for a sense of unity and one-ness, we’re looking for a new home,” Chambers said. “It’s also to expand. We need the room for all those things that should come—even though it’s a charter school—with a public school of our size.”