WILMINGTON — The state’s first single-gender public charter may soon have a new campus to call home.
After nearly 30 acres of land was donated to the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW) by the Cameron family in March, the all-girls public charter school has submitted plans to put that acreage to use.
Located off Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Kerr Avenue, the proposed 30 acres do not yet have a designated address.
The plans include a proposal to rezone 30 acres of residential land for the use of institutional and educational purposes. With over 57,000 square feet shared between four prospective buildings, GLOW Academy is taking the first step on the road to expansion.
As of December 2017, GLOW Academy provides free education to 200 sixth- and seventh-grade girls at its middle school campus on South College Road.
If its plans are approved, GLOW Academy would expand to include a high school, in addition to a new middle school campus, serving a total of 700 students.
The plans will go before Wilmington’s technical review committee on Jan. 4.
“This whole point is to engage with the neighbors,” said Margee Herring a spokeswoman for GLOW Academy.
Through the Technical Review Committee, the Planning Commission’s ruling and responses from a public meeting, GLOW Academy plans to implement adjustments in its design, land planning and traffic patterns before it hopes to break ground in April 2018.
“We are hopefully groundbreaking in April with the hopes that we are able to take possession in the summer of 2019,” Herring said.
Aimed at families of lower socioeconomic status, GLOW aims to bridge the gap between financially disadvantaged students and opportunity and education.
Each year, GLOW will add 100 sixth-grade students to its community. Even if the school’s plans are approved and built, GLOW Academy won’t reach full capacity until the 2022-2023 academic year, per its cultural philosophy.
The gradual implementation of 6th-grade students is an effort in “building the school’s culture and the sisterhood,” Herring said.
As the first and only single-gender public charter school in North Carolina, it would need to hold a lottery in the event of a surplus of applicants. Charter schools fall under the same purview of public schools in that they cannot discriminate against eligible students.
However, the Department of Public Instruction issued GLOW Academy a waiver which permits them to utilize a weighted lottery.
GLOW Academy’s lottery waiver grants GLOW Academy the authority to prioritize at-need students in the event of a surplus lottery-application pool.
“We have a specific mission,” Herring said. “(We want to) be mindful of specifically filling our student spaces with students that come from the demographic spaces that our charter is intending to serve.”
GLOW Academy’s 2018-2019 academic application is open now through Feb. 28 to fill its incoming 6th-grade class.