New NSA campus rising

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s new campus in Harbour View will open next fall.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s new campus in Harbour View will open next fall.

Brick by brick, construction workers are laying the educational foundation for future generations in Hampton Roads.

Construction at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s satellite campus in Harbour View is scheduled for completion in May, according to communications director Karen Schompert. The new lower school — a two-story, 22,500-square-foot building under construction at 6019 Harbour View Blvd. — opens to students next fall.

“We are excited about the opening of our new campus,” said NSA Head of School Deborah Russell. “With this campus, families in Harbour View and the surrounding communities will have opportunities to provide children with great educations in nurturing environments close to home.”

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Distance can make a big difference, particularly for parents of pre-kindergarten students, Schompert said. Students in pre-kindergarten programs are between the ages of 2 and 4, which is too young to ride the bus.

The building will include 14 classrooms, two multipurpose rooms, a library and a health clinic. The unoccupied second floor gives the school space to expand, adding fourth and fifth grades in the future, she said.

Between 60 and 90 students will make up the inaugural class, ranging from pre-kindergarten to third grade, with most coming from North Suffolk, Smithfield, Portsmouth, Western Branch and the surrounding areas, Russell said.

“Demand for enrollment at the Harbour View campus is strong, and we expect that campus to be full for our opening in August,” Russell said. “Demand at NSA’s main campus also continues to be strong.”

Ideally, students who start their academic careers at Harbour View will transfer to the main campus for the middle and high schools, she said. Both lower schools will follow the same curriculum, making the transitions easy.

Beginning in kindergarten, all students from both campuses will participate in some activities on NSA’s main campus, Russell said.

The academy looked for property to expand in North Suffolk for several years, she said. In 2014, the TowneBank Foundation donated three acres adjacent to the bank.

The school expects to hire 10-15 faculty members for the campus’s first year, then to double staffing the following year, Russell added.

Over the past two years, Nansemond-Suffolk has raised $6.3 million that is earmarked for funding initiatives including the Harbour View campus; an enhanced science, technology engineering and math curriculum for students, including an Innovation Lab for hands-on learning; professional development for staff and employees; and the academy’s endowment fund.