The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, also known as GLOW Academy, broke ground last week on its new campus near Maides Park off Kerr Avenue.
GLOW Academy, North Carolina’s only single-gender charter school, opened in August 2016 in a temporary location at 606 S. College Rd. behind St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. They will remain at that facility until the new school, which will serve grades 6-12, opens at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
“Today is a significant milestone in the short history of GLOW Academy,” said Judy Girard, the school’s founder and former Food Network and HGTV president. “From today we can see the future and look forward to summer 2019, when GLOW Academy’s new school opens, our inaugural class begins high school and, as a community, we celebrate what we have achieved together in building what will truly be a state-of-the-art, 21st century learning environment.”
The permanent campus will be built on a 30-acre site at 4100 Sunglow Dr. that was donated by members of the Cameron family. It will include an 18,600-sq. ft. middle school building and 19,183-sq. ft. high school building that will host a total of 700 students. A media center, cafeteria, maker space, administrative building, and outdoor learning areas will also be built.
The energy-efficient buildings and outdoor spaces were designed and will be constructed by a group of local companies – LS3P Architects, CLH Design, Woods Engineering, and Monteith Construction – who ensured that women would take leading roles on the project.
“This project is the perfect example of women supporting women, and illustrates that together we can rock the world. As designers, we are beyond thrilled to be a part of this endeavor,” said Daniela Ayers of LS3P Architecture. “Our all-female group of designers and engineers are collaborating to create a space for the next generation of women who will lead and shape our community. Our hope is for these young women to achieve their dreams, and then to extend their hands and lift up those who follow.”
Construction, which is set to start within the next month, is projected to cost $14 million. According to Todd Godbey, president and CEO of GLOW NC, about half the cost is covered through fundraising and pledges of support, with the school financing the rest.
“The community has been incredibly generous in their support for GLOW, but it is important that we stand on our own for a significant portion of this construction project,” Godbey said.
GLOW Academy is part of the Young Women’s Leadership Network, a nationwide network of 18 all girls public charter schools that focus on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for lower income families.