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Breaking Ground on Oasis Academy: The only rural charter school in the state

On Monday, Oasis Academy, Nevada's only rural charter school held a ground breaking ceremony for their newest building is being designed by Frame Architecture, and built by Miles Construction.

The college prep high school has been saving for this expansion since 2011, and received a $4.3 million grant from the William Pennington Foundation. Melissa Mackedon, the CEO of Oasis Academy told us that the one thing about public charter schools is they don't obtain public money to service their debt like traditional public schools do.

Instead, all of the money going towards the Oasis Academy comes out of their per pupil dollars.

Another aspect that separates charter schools from public schools is accountability.

"They can be shut down if they're underperforming, they can have sanctions put on them and the way kids get in via a lottery, anyone can get in to open enrollment and then it's pure lottery to be accepted into the school," Mackedon said.

The academy hopes the new building will be housing students by the 2024-2025 school year. As long as everything goes to plan, they'll be able to open their doors for the first day.

The biggest challenge so far for construction workers has been with electrical switch gears.

"The lead time on electrical switch gears are approaching or exceeding a years' time, well how to we get the switch gear in a year time and still maintain a 10-month schedule? The best way to do that is get in front of it," said John Burr, the VP of Field Operations for Miles Construction.

Mackedon also told us that they're excited for the new biology lab, library, technology classroom and open spaces for students to gather on campus. "When you're a high school teacher and you're not teaching in an ideal facility that wasn't designed for high school kids and what you're doing it makes it harder so for me it's as much about the staff as it is the students," Mackedon said.

As for Miles Construction, they're excited to be a part of the building process. "They're future leaders of our community and it really brings us joy to be a part of helping them with building a facility that's going to help them with their growth and education and be future leaders of our community," said Burr.

Mackedon said when the ribbon cutting comes along, she predicts emotions will be high.

"When we're having the ribbon cutting, you're going to see people crying because there is so much hard work and sacrifice and love and heart that goes into operating a charter school," she said.

Mackedon also showed us a horseshoe se says they dug up on the grounds during the ceremony.

They're taking it as a sign of good luck for the project.


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