GEORGETOWN, Del. - The Sussex Academy is kicking off a major construction project this school year to the tune of almost $10 million. The money will go towards the construction of a new middle school wing with 15 classrooms, as well as various extra-curricular facilities.
The school was started in 2002 as a 225-student middle school. In 2013, Sussex Academy swapped locations with Delmarva Christian High School, raising their enrollment to 325 students. In the years after this, the school has added one high school grade every year.
By 2016 the school is expecting enrollment to reach 700 students. To keep up with this growing enrollment and to enhance the facilities, the school is entering Phase II of their construction project this year.
The school currently has two fields, but the project will clear surrounding area to create 8 fields in the area. The project will also create a "High Tech Library Information Center" and something called a "Cafetorium," which is both a cafeteria, and an auditorium.
Sophomore Sarah Bixler said she and her classmates are looking forward to the change.
"A lot more opportunities," she said. "For us to expand and have more people come out to our schools. And we'll be right up there competing with them."
Classmate Austin Ross agreed, saying that he is most excited for the Cafetorium. Currently that room is empty, and Ross said that space will be valuable.
"I've been in the theater program for two years now," he said. "So to actually have a stage to go on rather than the big gray tarp in the gymnasium is actually a real step up."
Director of Curriculum and Instruction Patricia Oliphant took WBOC for a tour of the facility. She said construction is going to begin this school year, and is expected to be completed by September of 2016.
"The space out there will become an athletic complex with fields," she said pointing out at a row of soybeans. "With a concession stand and lavatories."
The project is being financed by the school's foundation. Most of that money was raised through fundraising efforts through donations from people and corporations on Delmarva, although the foundation will be using federal loans from the USDA as well.
"I'm really excited," said Bixler. "And I'm just excited to see what we can do as a high school. And do as a class with these new facilities."
For full disclosure, a member of the Sussex Academy Foundation Board is also a family member of WBOC's owner.