South Bronx Classical IV Charter School held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, July 18 on a new building at 757 Concourse Village West that will allow for the expansion of the school to serve grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.
The school is currently open and housed in a temporary location at East 167th Street and Third Avenue, presently the home of another school that’s part of Classical Charter Schools, said Lestor Long, executive director of the school network.
Long said that the new building will be 54,000 square feet with a full-size gymnasium with a basketball court and will be completely wired for Wi-Fi and the internet.
The classrooms will be larger than typical classrooms, at about 700 square feet each for a class size of about 20 students each, said Long, adding that there will be a fully insulated music room with a premiere sound system and an art room.
As part of the classical (Greek and Roman) theme of the school, students will receive gym every day, along with two and a half units of both music and art each week, said Long.
Student and parent demand for Classical Charter Schools’ rigorous academic standards and longer school days, which last from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the organization’s desire to expand into more borough communities, drove the decision to build in Concourse Village.
“We have identified seven neighborhoods in the Bronx particularly in need,” said Long. “This will be our fourth school and we hope in the next five to ten years to start three new schools.”
South Bronx Classical IV Charter School has been in existence since 2017 and will ultimately educate 500 students per year, said the charter school network executive director.
Classical opened its first school on Fox Street in 2006 and was so inundated with parent demand that in 2013 they opened a second school in Port Morris, said Long.
The charter school waited to fine-tune its curriculum and teaching methods before opening its second location, he said.
In 2015, it opened a 53,000 square foot new school building in Morrisania to house its third school, he added.
The latest building should open in August 2020.
Classical Charter Schools may look to expand into other communities around the borough, as many students are currently being bused to their current locations from other nearby neighborhoods.
The school’s focus is on a back-to-basics education in the tradition of classical education. Latin and Debate are taught, said Long.
“The demand has been so overwhelming high and we get about 15 applications for every available seat, so we are doing everything we can to start more schools,” said Long. “We really want to cover the south Bronx because we want to make sure every parent and student can walk to a great school.”
Possible areas of expansion include Soundview, Tremont and Fordham, said Long.
The new Concourse Village building will feature classically-themed paint accents, use of Roman numerals in signs and other back-to-basics features.