Corvian grows campus with $13.4M high school

By   – Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Corvian Community School has expanded its student body — and campus with a $13.4 million high school.

That 70,000-square-foot facility welcomes its first freshman class on Aug. 27. It sits on roughly 10 acres at 4041 Johnston-Oehler Road in north Charlotte. 

“We will stagger our growth and add one grade a year,” says Stacey Haskell, executive director.

She launched Corvian as a low-tuition private school in 2010. 

It was a move to fill a gap in the educational system — and meet her own children’s educational needs. 

“I knew my children are different types of learners,” Haskell says. 

Corvian has the flexibility to use different teaching methods and curriculum. That allows it to better reach children and provide an innovative educational experience that melds the arts, health and wellness, among other offerings, Haskell says.

“It’s not a box we put students in — rather we tailor education to their minds,” she adds. “It just looks different in our school.”

The building has 16 classrooms in four separate wings. 

The furniture selected allows teachers and students to easily transform the rooms to encourage collaborative learning. Cozy seating nooks — still visible from the classroom — provide another opportunity for group learning.

Rooms feature large three-panel windows that flood the space with light and offer views of greenery. 

There’s also five labs — think an innovation lab for robotics and a 3-D printer — a black-box theater and art studios complete with kiln and potter’s wheels. 

Students will take advantage of a state-of-the-art weight room and yoga, dance and fitness studio. The building also houses the school’s first-ever gymnasium, which can accommodate 1,000.

“We tried to make it very Corvian,” Haskell says.

A multi-purpose space will double as a gathering area and dining space. It boasts tall ceilings, spiral pendant lights and riser-style seating that runs along the staircase.

There’s also outdoor patio space, which can be used for eating as well as classroom work.

The design incorporates light grays, peacock blue and pops of lime green with polished concrete floors.

It’s a long way from Corvian’s first year.

Haskell recruited the first class by driving her minivan around the neighborhood and putting fliers in mailboxes. 

The school’s inaugural class had 15 students in kindergarten and first grade. It was also located in a mobile trailer on a church property.

Haskell jumped at the chance to become a charter school in 2012. The school grew to 88 students. 

“I believe in excellent public education. I want all kids to benefit — not just those that can afford to.”

A year later, enrollment topped out at 440. This year, it has 1,030 students enrolled from kindergarten through ninth grade. 

“Now we have waiting lists in every grade. It was mean to be,” Haskell says.

This year, 500 kindergarteners applied for approximately 45 spots.

The school will max out at 1,500 students as the high school fills. Nicki Sinclair has been tapped as director of high school education.

The new high school sits next door to the middle school — opened in 2015 — and just three miles from the elementary school.

KSQ Design was the architect; Barringer Construction was the general contractor, with Anne Goodson serving as senior project manager.

Lexee Zutz with Cushman & Wakefield was senior project manager.

The project was funded through bonds, financed by BB&T Capital Markets.