The New School began classes in its newly renovated first floor space in November and will begin renovations on the second floor this summer. EpiCity was happy to help The New School find its permanent home on 655 Memorial Drive SE in Atlanta.
Director of Admissions & Operations and one of the three founders of The New School, Mary Campbell Jenkins, is pleased that the three-year-old school now has 4,500 square feet with its renovated first floor, and the soon to be renovated second floor will see the school double in size. The school was founded in 2014 and rented about 2,700-square feet at Inman Park Methodist Church.
Mary Campbell is grateful for their former space at the church and is thrilled to be in their new space. “Memorial Drive is a highway of activity – near the State Capitol, City Hall, Habitat for Humanity, new businesses, art programs – it’s all so close and a perfect place for our school,” she said. “This area is energized and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Mary Campbell found the property through Tom Stokes, President of EpiCity. She met Tom through her real estate broker Linda Rothermel of Renaissance Consulting Group, while the school evaluated one of EpiCity’s commercial sites. Although it wasn’t the right fit for them, Tom called her back to say EpiCity, with Linda’s help, would assist in finding them a permanent home. “What incredible generosity,” said Mary Campbell. “After evaluating several possible locations, EpiCity assisted in procuring this perfect space in the heart of the Memorial Drive corridor.”
Not only were they able to secure the 9,000-square foot existing building, but the school also bought an unimproved lot next door which provides multiple options and flexibility including the ability to double enrollment over the years with plenty of room left to grow.
“We were pleased to have been able to help The New School find their home on Memorial Drive,” said Tom. “We have several other projects in the corridor and we look forward to being neighbors for years to come. Linda Rothermel is a good friend to us and when she introduced us to The New School and we learned about their fabulous and unique program we were eager to help. EpiCity’s team assisted Linda and their relocation committee in evaluating over a dozen possible sites. This building has the right mix of attributes they need.” Tom, a former educator, truly understood the needs of The New School and how the space affects the place.
The New School currently has 57 students with three high school grades. Next year, the school will have all four high school grades.
The founders, all former teachers, wanted to create a high school where students did work that mattered to them and enabled them to uncover life-long passions with community engaged projects, teamed with accomplished adults. For example, according to Mary Campbell, 9th graders will build a tiny house this spring as an outgrowth of their work in physics. Sophomores will examine forgotten events, places and people in Atlanta’s history between the Civil War and the Civil Rights era and learn to create their own memorials. As they conduct research on events like the Atlanta Race Riots or the Black Washerwomen’s strike, they come to understand that they’re living in historical space.
“Our goal is for 18-year-olds to graduate with a clear sense of direction and deep self-knowledge,” said Mary Campbell. “The blend of academic work and community-engaged projects gives them a broad perspective about the world around them and meaningful skills that few high school students develop.”
Phase two of renovations will begin this summer when students are on summer break, and the school will continue to grow and thrive for years to come in its home on Memorial Drive.