Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp. (OARC), Philadelphia’s leading community development corporation, along with state, city and Cheltenham Township officials held a groundbreaking ceremony today at the West Oak Lane Charter School. OARC President and CEO Jack Kitchen was joined by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, State Representatives Dwight Evans and Cherelle Parker, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Marian Tasco and dozens of community leaders to celebrate the $16 million project which includes OARC’s acquisition of the West Oak Lane shopping center announced in late 2010.
“For 26 years, it has been OARC’s mission to develop and revitalize Northwest Philadelphia,” said Kitchen. “We are proud to help the successful West Oak Lane Charter School to expand and improve its facilities in order to continue to provide educational opportunities to more children in northwest Philadelphia.”
The construction project is expected to generate 216 temporary jobs and 15 permanent jobs. The expansion, which is being financed by Fulton Bank, features a 64,000 square foot addition to the school and is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2011. A joint venture between Shoemaker and Perryman Construction companies shall serve as the General Contractor.
“We are very excited that this day is finally here,” said Dr. Debbera Peoples-Lee, CEO of West Oak Lane Charter School. “The additional classroom space will allow our school to enroll more students and better deliver on our educational model.” OARC established the West Oak Lane Charter School in 1998 as a K-4 public charter school. Since then, the school has expanded to include 8th grade. As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, students from each class of the charter school participated in a time capsule dedication and burial.
Located at 7115 Stenton Avenue in Northwest Philadelphia, West Oak Lane Charter School provides a safe, structured, nurturing and academically challenging environment for all students to develop morally, intellectually, culturally and socially to their fullest potential. It has been providing high quality education, support and choice to children in grades K-8 and families in the West Oak Lane community for 13 years. The school currently enrolls 747 students and employs 85 teachers and staff.