Sunrise Academy, a chartered Islamic school at 5657 Scioto Darby Road in Hilliard, plans to open a high school later this year adjacent to its K-8 campus.
The facility would house new high school students in grades 9-12, and Sunrise Academy would move its students in grades 6-8 to the new building, said Mouhamed Tarazi, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus, which operates the academy.
The new school would occupy an unused portion of Hometown Urgent Care, 5677 Scioto Darby Road.
According to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office, the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus purchased the Scioto Darby Road site for $1.05 million from Heritage Medical LLC.
It closed on the property, which was zoned commercial for medical clinics and offices, in February, according to records.
The approximately 13,000-square-foot building is on 4 acres at the southwest corner of Scioto Darby and Veterans Memorial Drive, at the entrance to Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park and the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center.
The K-8 Sunrise Academy is at the southeast corner of the same intersection and opened in 1996, Tarazi said.
Sunrise is the only chartered Islamic school in central Ohio, according to Mona Salti, the Sunrise principal.
ThisWeek was unable to confirm that through the Ohio Department of Education.
“The (Ohio) Department of Education does not track schools by religious affiliation,” Carolyn Cypret, the ODE’s assistant director of media relations, told ThisWeek.
Sunrise’s K-8 school is at the former site of the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library before the branch moved to 4772 Cemetery Road in 1996 and then again last year to 4500 Hickory Chase Way.
Hilliard City Schools' Heritage Middle School, Darby High School and Station Sixth Grade School are on the north side of Scioto Darby Road, across the street from Sunrise Academy.
"We have worked very closely with Sunrise Academy over the years, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to grow," said district spokeswoman Stacie Raterman.
Approximately 15 high school students are expected to attend the high school at the start of the upcoming school year because of limited space, Tarazi said, in addition to the 75 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students who will move from Sunrise Academy.
Some of those students would be advancing eighth-graders from Sunrise Academy’s K-8 school, but others would be new students from other central Ohio schools, Tarazi said.
Currently, eighth-graders leaving Sunrise Academy enter a public school district, Tarazi said.
Eighteen eighth-graders are enrolled at Sunrise Academy, Tarazi said.
As of May 10, four students had registered to attend the new school, Salti said. They included one current Sunrise Academy student, she said.
The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on May 9 voted 5-0 to approve a conditional-use permit to allow Sunrise Academy to move into a portion of the urgent-care facility.
Sunrise Academy plans to occupy the remainder of the building in 2020, according to Mark Denny, a Grove City architect who represented Tarazi for the conditional-use permit.
Although the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus has purchased the site, Hometown Urgent Care has a lease that doesn’t expire until early next year, Denny said.
The school plans to have a maximum of 60 high school students (grades 9-12) by the start of the 2020-21 school year, Tarazi said.
Sunrise Academy enrolls students from throughout central Ohio. Its current enrollment is 350 in grades K-8, Tarazi said.
Sunrise Academy would be required to obtain additional permits to occupy the remainder of the building at 5677 Scioto Darby Road or make any renovations or additions to the building, said city planner John Talentino.
However, commission members told academy leaders a long-term outlook would be necessary.
“(This use) is low impact, but I am not sure it will work long term. Please consider whether it is appropriate to build out as a school,” said Scott Movshin, commission chairman.
Commission member Chris Lewie said Sunrise Academy has outgrown its building, including the one it soon will occupy.
“It might be a good fit now, ... but what about (later)?” Lewie said.
In June 2017, the commission unanimously rejected a request by Sunrise Academy to build a 2,678-square-foot addition to Sunrise Academy.
“You’re trying to pour 10 gallons of water into a 5-gallon bucket, and it’s not going to happen,” Mayor Don Schonhardt, a member of the commission, said in June 2017.