Bridges Preparatory School is purchasing an 18-acre site off Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort for the home of its new campus.
The Bridges Prep board approved the purchase Thursday night contingent on tests and studies confirming the suitability of the site for a charter school campus. Those studies, which will cost about $75,000, include traffic analysis, utilities access and wetlands.
“We have worked many years to get to this point. We have 18 acres, and it’s ours once we do our due diligence,” said board chair Dee Matthews.
The property is across from the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority water tank, near Goethe Hill Road and south of Cross Creek Shopping Center and Walmart.
Bridges Prep’s board anticipates building a 90,000-square-foot facility to house all grades from kindergarten through 12th grade. Although the school only started offering ninth grade this year, by the time the school opens, those students will be juniors.
“We fully expect to have our first graduating class graduate from the new facility,” head of school Nick Ithomitis said. “The purchase is contingent on a variety of things that must be done to ensure the site is suitable for a school. But in all honesty, this is a giant leap forward in our quest for a new school.”
Bridges Prep was chartered by the state in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. Since then, enrollment has grown by 200-plus students to more than 580 this school year.
An almost $10 million federal loan will pay for the land, construction and equipping the new school, though Bridges leaders said they will seek additional funds to expand the project to include all high school grades.
For the next two school years, Bridges Prep will continue to operate at three campuses — the main school at 1100 Boundary St., a K-1 school at Celadon on Lady’s Island, and middle and high school grades at nearby Greene Street.