BASIS Flagstaff is under construction. The college prep charter school is working on nearly doubling its current campus on Gemini Road by 30,877 square feet to make room for new classrooms, a new gym, a new playground and more parking.

Alex Cohen, a fifth-grade teacher at BASIS, can’t wait for the new construction to be finished.

“I’m really excited to see if we can push and achieve more. For the first time ever we’ll be able to build off our own curriculum,” she said, referring to the fact that the school will also add kindergarten through second grade for the 2018 school year. According to Cohen, that means that in a few short years she’ll be teaching students who have only attended BASIS for their schooling.

Cohen, who teaches math and science, is also excited about the new state-of-the-art science labs that are part of the new construction. She said the students are excited about the new full-sized gym and the new playgrounds that will be installed. The 2018 senior class is especially excited about the plans for a senior lounge area where students can relax and work on their senior projects.

According to a press release from Willmeng Construction, the construction has been in the work for a few months and will expand the existing 34,867 square-foot building to accommodate BASIS’ plans to add kindergarten and first and second grades to the school. Charhuff & Cueva Architects have designed the new space.

The construction includes renovations to the existing building to renovate restrooms, add locker cubbies, paint, install new carpet and update the administrative offices. The construction is supposed to be finished in October but the new classrooms should be available to students at the start of the school year in August.

The school opened in 2011 with 425 students and served fifth through 12 grades at first. It welcomed fourth-graders in 2015 and third-graders in 2016. It now serves 650 students. The addition of kindergarten through second grades would make the Flagstaff school the second BASIS school in Arizona to serve students from kindergarten through 12th grade in one building, joining BASIS Prescott.

BASIS.ed, the organization behind BASIS Flagstaff, was founded in 1998 in Tucson with 50 students and six teachers. The organization now has schools spread across the U.S. and one international school. BASIS.ed is known for its rigorous curriculum, including college prep classes, that allows some students to meet state graduation requirements by grade 11. Seniors at BASIS can take classes that are equivalent to 200 to 300 level college classes. They also have the option of doing an intensive research project that is related to their college or career goals.

The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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