A former golf course on the Northeast Side soon will be transformed into the site of a charter school that hopes to enroll 2,000 college-bound students by the end of the decade.
Construction is under way on the first of two phases of KIPP Columbus, part of a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools.
Next school year, the school will accept students in grades K-1 and 5-8, with plans of becoming a K-12 campus serving mostly low-income black and Latino families.
"We are just really excited to expand our impact to serve more kids and are deeply committed to ensuring our kids have the opportunity to go to and through college," said Hannah Powell, executive director of the local facility.
Charter school officials paid $2.3-million to buy the 110-acre property, formerly the Bridgeview Golf Course, from Columbus State Community College. The first phase of construction includes a 145,000-square-foot school facility. There is no specific timeline for construction for the second phase, Powell said. The campus is located at 2738 Agler Road.
KIPP, which stands for Knowledge is Power Program, was established in 1994 in Houston, Texas. It was launched in Columbus in 2008 as KIPP Journey Academy, which currently enrolls more than 300 students in the Linden area.
It has an annual operating budget of $3.5 million.
There are now 141 KIPP schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C., serving more than 50,000 students.
Powell said the program has a strong record across the country. Nationally, more than 93 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated from high school, and more than 83 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college, she said.
"We believe that all kids can and will learn and we work relentlessly to ensure that every kid receives an excellent college preparatory education," she said.
Powell said the school's program is based on five pillars: high expectations, focus on results, power to lead, more time and choice and commitment.
The typical school day is 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional programming, offered from 4 to 7 p.m., includes classroom instruction, as well as physical fitness and arts activities, Powell said.
KIPP's model is based on 49 percent character and 51 percent academic, she said.
"And we work to ensure every kid develops the character, knowledge and skills to be successful in college and life," she said.