Hutcheson also showed off the new library to Renae Adams of Cartridge World in Conyers, left, and Rick Ingram of A Better Plumbing Service, while on the tour.
COVINGTON — Peachtree Academy’s Covington campus continues to grow.
This school year, the school opened a new high school addition, complete with a library, gymnasium, cafeteria, a band room and more room to expand.
“We are blessed beyond measure that we were able to expand again,” said JaNice Van Ness, chief executive officer for the school. “We promised our parents a gym, but we gave them a high school.”
The school, located at 14101 U.S. Highway 278 in Covington, has experienced 177 percent growth between its second and third year of opening.
It opened in August 2010 as the first private school in Covington accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
It served 57 students during the 2010-11 school year and now has nearly 200 students enrolled from 4-year-old pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
“There’s room for expansion — we’re not finished growing,” said Wendy Hughes, headmaster of the school.
In the spring, the school plans to finish its athletic fields. Already, the school offers sports like cross country, soccer, basketball, golf, cheerleading, tennis and equestrian.
“There’s lot of opportunities for children to be involved,” Hughes said, adding that the school also offers fine arts like violin and percussion lessons, a praise band and drama.
The school also has before- and after-school programs and summer programs. A new collaborative program also will offer courses and extracurricular opportunities for area home school families beginning in August.
Over the summer, the school plans to finish the upstairs portion of the new addition to add more classrooms to the high school program. About 65 students now are in the high school program, which serves eighth through 12th grades, and there are about 100 in fifth through seventh grades waiting to enter the program, which will serve ninth through 12th grades next year.
The school enjoys about a 98 percent re-enrollment rate. Normally, private schools retain about 80 percent, Hughes said. About 300 students are expected next school year.
The Newton County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting and tour at the school Tuesday.
“We’ve watched the growth of Peachtree Academy for years,” Chamber President Hunter Hall said.
He said the Chamber has improved efforts to recruit private schools to the area — not because there are problems with public schools but because “it provides options.”
“We’re cheerleaders in both public and private schools,” he said.
Hall added that information about school options will be provided to individuals moving to the area with Baxter, saying that good schools tie in with property values and recruitment.
The expansion includes a library with wireless computers and books. Next year, the school plans to introduce some electronic textbooks for students on tablet devices.
The school also plans to expand its main Conyers campus in the near future.
A gala to celebrate the school’s growth across its three campuses is scheduled in the new Covington addition on April 20. The fundraising event is expected to help the school build a robotics program and science labs, complete a football field and contribute to a student scholarship fund.
More information is available on the school’s website www.peachtreeacademy.com.