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On The Grow, BA expanding facilities to meet growth

     Construction is under way on several expansion and improvement projects on Brookhaven Academy’s campus, additions BA Headmaster Julie Wright said will meet the school’s slated path for growth.

     “Student demand is driving the need to expand and the need for the current and future projects,” Wright said in an interview Thursday. “On the subject of demand, as we speak, we have a waiting list of applications for some of our grades.”

     Wright said last year BA saw a large increase in enrollment and that trend is expected to continue. She said the need for additional classroom space is an integral factor in the expansion.

     Among the projects under way, a multi-use facility located behind the gym will accommodate space for computer labs, music and art classes, additional athletic practice facilities, a multimedia room with theater-like seating and a stage with state of the art sound and lighting for performances.

     “The multi-use facility has been part of our vision for the school for over seven years,” Wright said. “We are really excited to have that dream finally realized.”

     Additional dining space in the cafeteria is being added as well as a complete renovation of the kitchen with new appliances.

     On the administrative end, new office space is being built to house the finance and development department.

     Security measures are being addressed with the installation of new brick and column fencing replacing the dated chain-link. Updated camera systems will also be part of the security improvements.

     According to Wright, the projects under construction have come in at an estimated cost of $975,000 and future projects are planned with a projected cost of $2.5 million, inclusive of the current undertakings.

     Funding was accrued from various sources, including a minimal tuition increase, Wright said. In addition, a Healthcare Technology and Capital Improvements fee, or HTC as Wright explained, was charged along with tuition last year.

     Wright said the school’s 12-member board of trustees recently concluded a feasibility study and plans to kick-off a capital campaign in September.

     “We have done fundraising before, but this is the first time we have done a real full-blown capital campaign,” she said.

      The board is getting some assistance from J.F. Smith Consulting Group out of Auburn, Ala. Wright said J.F. Smith has helped several independent schools in Mississippi with successful campaigns of their own.

     Wright also emphasized the importance of active patrons and volunteers in the success of such projects.    

     “That’s how the school’s always been able to accomplish these large projects,” she said.

     “We are really excited about all the activity currently going on at BA and the future of where we are going,” Wright continued.