Students from Great Hearts Anthem Prep Academy and Archway Classical Academy clapped and cheered from their desks as they watched, via livestream, shovels hit the dirt just 2 miles down the road.
The Oct. 4 event was a groundbreaking for their future school building at the northeast corner of Gavilan Peak Parkway and Arroyo Norte Drive. The ceremony marked the first phase of what will be a new two-story design to accommodate the nonprofit charter school’s growing student population. The 82,000-square-foot ground-up build is something Great Hearts families and administrators have been looking forward to over the last several years.
“The current building our Anthem students are in was always meant to be a temporary space,” said Great Hearts Arizona President Erik Twist.
“Knowing that the future students at this school will have a new place to call home for the 2022/23 academic year is exciting to watch unfold and be part of.”
The new school will sit on 10 acres of land and will include a large gym, football/soccer field, lab rooms, special education rooms, a library, and even more classrooms to serve grades K-12. Zack Withers, the new headmaster at Great Hearts Anthem Prep, joined Twist and Teresa Clark, headmaster of Archway Classical grades K-5, for the ceremonial first dig.
“Students need a place that nurtures their minds and encourages growth,” Withers said. “I am excited to witness the move to a larger and more accommodating facility. As Anthem continues to grow, so do the families and this expansion enables us to take kids off those waitlists and put them in our seats.”
On the current Anthem campus, students from all grades felt part of the journey as they tuned in to watch.
“It’s important that the kids are part of this,” Clark said. “They will be spending a majority of their days in this brand-new facility. We know we can’t take everyone out of class to be here for the groundbreaking, so someone had the great idea to livestream it because it was first thing in the morning.”
Anthem Prep and Archway Classical have nearly 1,200 students and are part of the network of tuition-free public nonprofit charter schools of Great Hearts Academies. The schools teach classical education with a strong emphasis on the liberal arts. The academies have no entry or testing requirements to enroll and accept any student who applies as long as a seat is available.
The Anthem groundbreaking is just one of several expansion plans. Earlier this year, Great Hearts announced its first Buckeye location, set to open in 2022. Great Hearts will also open schools in Texas and Louisiana.
“We are passionate about what we do, and we will continue to open schools to meet the demand,” Twist said. “We are educating scholars and encouraging our future leaders. Today is a first of many more groundbreaking ceremonies to come.”
An in-person informational session for open enrollment is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the existing Great Hearts Anthem Prep and Archway Classical Academy, 39808 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway.
Parents will hear from headmasters, teachers and coaches about the Great Hearts curriculum, co-curricular activities and athletics programs.
For updates on the new Anthem build and to reserve a spot for the open enrollment information session, visit greatheartsamerica.org.