EAST LAKE — Dignitaries gathered on the back nine of the Charlie Yates Golf Course Tuesday for the ceremonial turning of the the dirt on construction of Charles R. Drew Senior Academy.
The groundbreaking brings to fruition a long-held dream for a K-12 educational institution under the Drew Charter School banner.
Gov. Nathan Deal, a longtime supporter of the school, noted that Drew's 6th through 8th grade classes rank No. 1 in math and language arts tests among their peers in the Atlanta Public Schools. Drew also is No. 1 statewide out of 301 primary schools and 134 middle schools that have a majority student population of low-income black kids, Deal said.
When it opened in 2000 to serve mainly minority students from the Villages of East Lake, it ranked last last among APS schools.
"I'm proud of what's happened here with your school up to this point," Deal said.
The new facility will be 200,000 square feet and will be home to Drew’s Junior and Senior Academies — grades 6 through 12.
It is expected to cost $73 million to build, and has more than $60 million in committed funds from private individuals and corporate donors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.
Construction, school officials said, will be done at no expense to APS. It is slated to open in 2014.
Read more about the Drew Junior and Senior Academies at East Atlanta Patch.