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Academy of Innovation to celebrate opening

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Academy of Innovation (Credit: VWSD)

Vicksburg, Miss. – School leaders, students, elected officials, project partners and community members are invited to join Academy of Innovation students and VWSD staff to celebrate the opening of the new state-of-the-art facility at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1. The event will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony, student-led program and tours of the school.

This new state-of-the-art building, designed by Dale Bailey Architects and constructed by Century Construction, features an open environment allowing a personalized student curriculum that reflects the creativity of its students. The structure itself serves as a teaching tool at multiple levels and will encourage collaboration between teachers and students. The cost of the project was $16.4 million.

“We are excited to invite our community to see this building that only a few years ago was nothing more than a sketch on a napkin. The end-in-mind for this project was to provide a safe and engaging environment for our students and staff and it has turned into so much more,” said School District Superintendent, Chad Shealy. “I am incredibly grateful for our community’s support in this project and for everyone who had a hand in its creation.”

The Academy of Innovation serves seventh and eighth grade students and has grown from 80 students five years ago to close to 400 today. It is a STEM Academy and focuses on student-centered learning, providing experiences that motivate all students through rigorous and technologically enhanced curriculum and developing life-long learners.

The Academy of Innovation was previously housed in the former Grove Street School, built in 1949. “The teachers at AOI are doing wonderful things with and for kids. We are so excited to have an opportunity to move into a new building that will allow us to expand these unique learning experiences for our students.” said AOI principal, Dr. Jason McKellar.

The brand new Academy of Innovation was made possible by the passage of an $83 million facilities bond issue in March of last year. Other projects that are included in the bond issue are major renovations and additions at both Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School, upgrades at Vicksburg Junior High and Warren Central Junior High schools, and improvements at all elementary schools based on needs. Athletic facilities will also be improved.

Academy of Innovation – Information Sheet

Academy of Innovation

  • 7th and 8th grade students from both Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School apply to attend the Academy of Innovation.
  • All test scores are included in the reporting at VJHS and WCJHS, depending on the zoned school of the student.
  • AOI grew from 80 students in 2014 to close to 400 today.
  • AOI was the first Leader in Me Lighthouse Middle School in the state in 2018 and was granted recertification in August of 2021.

New Building – 1650 Rosa A. Temple Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39180

  • Cost ~ $16,454,000 and made possible by the passage of an $83 million facilities bond issue in March 2018.
  • Contractor ~ Century Construction (Tupelo)
  • Architect – Dale/Bailey Architects
  • 68,000 square feet
  • Accommodate up to 400 students
  • Students will be divided into four 100 student studios – glass doors/partitions can be opened to promote collaborative learning in each studio space.
  • Building is designed to promote creativity and collaborative learning and teaching.
  • STEM Academy that focuses on student-centered learning and provides experiences that motivate all students through rigorous and technologically enhanced curriculum.
  • Designs in and on the new school were planned to teach students at every turn – Vetruvian man (demonstrates proportion and the blend of math and art); Golden Spiral (logarithmic spiral – geometry); open duct work and visible pipes, etc.
  • ADA accessible
  • Audio Enhancement installed throughout the building – enhances safety, classroom audio and opportunities for principals to provide feedback to teachers
  • Two point security entrance to the school provides safety for students and staff
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