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USD 501 Board hopeful for educational opportunities with Avondale West move

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Avondale Academy will continue its alternative middle school and high school program at a new location at Kanza Cafe to increase educational opportunities. District leaders hope it increases educational opportunities.

Principal Dr. Joy Grimes said it makes sense to move from a large building because their program is small, with less than 40 current students and lower enrollment projections in the coming years.

“Fiscally responsible to our taxpayers and making sure that we are finding that facility that fits our program. The best thing, right, is that our program is going to continue and that we actually we are going to change a few things since we’re Co-located with Cap City and co-located with TCALC,” she said.

The USD 501 Board of Education held a public hearing during their meeting Thursday night to discuss the change. No one from the public spoke, but Grimes spoke with us before.

She said with any change, she asks the parents of their students to be patient and flexible as they work out the kinks moving forward.

“All of our students have taken a tour of our new facility. We’ve actually done some landscaping so they’re kind of getting used to the new facility, but it’s going to take some time and so just being patient with us as we work through the changes,” she said.

The administration believes collaboration between the three programs of Avondale, Cap City, and TCALC, Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers, will enhance staff professional development. The proximity of the three programs increases opportunities for students with more facilities available, like the natatorium.

“The location, some of our parents it’s actually going to be beneficial it will be closer to their homes but really as long as we are continuing to offer the services, they’re fine with the move.”

They plan to renovate the Avondale West building as they did with the Avondale East building, but do not know what it will become yet.

Grimes said the change is efficient for bus riders with a closer bus stop located the Kanza Cafe complex. They will have a book fair in the coming weeks to ease their transition as well.

“We weren’t able to do a book fair earlier because of COVID restrictions but now we’re going to do that and it helps our move so we don’t have quite so many books to move over to our new facility and that’ll be coming out here pretty soon.”

The board will take final action on the plan at its next meeting.

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