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Tue, July 16

KAOL Primary has a new home
Charter school cluster achieves long-term goal

Custodian Bill Bailey assembles a computer table in the multipurpose room of the new Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School on Monday. TERRY ORGAN/Miner

Custodian Bill Bailey assembles a computer table in the multipurpose room of the new Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School on Monday. TERRY ORGAN/Miner

KINGMAN - Several teachers and front office personnel were busy taping boxes and pushing desks around Monday at First Southern Baptist Church, which has been the home through a lease agreement for the past 10 years for Kingman Academy of Learning Primary School.

They were assisted by personnel from Daze Transfer in loading one large van and another small van with items such as desks, chairs, computers, a copying machine, two refrigerators, microwave ovens, filing cabinets, shelves and learning materials for the move to their new building at 3400 Burbank St.

Betty Rowe, academy director, said each van was expected to make three trips to move everything.

"We're excited and can't wait to get into the new school," said Leigh Pitts, who will start her second year as a kindergarten teacher in the KAOL when classes begin Aug. 20. "The building has a big multipurpose room for the kids to run around in on rainy days, something we don't have here."

Deanna Harnisch, another kindergarten teacher, said she has children in the district's intermediate and middle schools, so the move will put her closer to them and permit times when she may visit both as a parent.

All four KAOL schools and the district office will be in a square block area bounded by Airway Avenue, Harrison Street, Beverly Avenue and Burbank Street.

Harnisch added that having the primary school close to other district schools will enable older children to help out primary students through reading buddies and peer tutoring activities.

"It's going to be nice to have our own space where we can enjoy using our own things," second grade teacher Coleen Williams said.

Rowe said none of the primary school teachers have seen the new building. They get their first look Monday and will find double the classroom space they had at First Southern Baptist Church on Hualapai Mountain Road.

School secretary Crystal Miller has seen the new building.

"It's large and spacious," Miller said. "This is our baby and we get to watch her grow up."

The district has one year remaining on its lease with the church. The agreement will remain in place until the end with those classrooms to be used for meetings or storage, Rowe said.

Electricity and water service are up and running in the new school. Gas service will be activated this week.

The primary school encompasses 28,285 square feet of space under roof. The project cost is about $4.3 million.

"This is the conclusion of the vision for us," Rowe said. "We now have all four schools in the same area.

"We've had wonderful community support and appreciate support given us by the two churches over the years."

Intermediate school formerly was held at Praise Chapel off Hualapai Mountain Road. High school for freshmen and sophomores also was conducted there for two years before KAOL High School opened three years ago on Burbank Street.

The new primary school's multipurpose room will serve as both a gymnasium and cafeteria. Students may bring their own lunch or buy one from vendors. A different vendor comes to the school each weekday Monday through Thursday.

There are two wings in the building. The one nearest the front office houses pre-school and kindergarten classrooms.

The other wing toward the rear of the school holds first-graders to one side and second-graders on the other.

Within the first-grade wing is a combination speech and resource room for special education students. The two are separated by a folding wall.

The wing also contains a class reduction room, where first-graders may spend half of each day.

"Students are divided for reading and math," Rowe said. "That means all classrooms have smaller numbers."

There is a small conference room off the front office, along with teacher and parent workrooms. Volunteers in the parent workroom may engage in such activities as copying, collating material for books and cut out items for bulletins boards, Rowe said.

The new primary school phone number is 692-2500. School hours Monday through Thursday are 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

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