A group of south Cobb parents and educators who have been on a quest to open their own private school have just one more hoop to jump through before they can realize their dream.
The SAE School Head of Schools Jimmy Arispe announced Tuesday that the school will be housed in the building formerly occupied by Imagine International Academy of Mableton at 6688 Mableton Parkway.
“(It) is a wonderful location for our school to anchor and to raise the bar on education across the entire southern Cobb County region,” he said.
The deal is not set in stone, though.
Arispe said the Cobb County Board of Commissioners will have to approve a land-use permit for the school in July.
“The school is asking that you contact your commission on our behalf to encourage them to pass this,” he said.
The Board of Commissioners voted down a permit in May. Arispe’s group was seeking permission to house the school on part of an 82-acre tract of land close to where Interstate 285 crosses the Chattahoochee River in south Cobb.
“We never thought it would be this challenging … everything happens for a reason, though,” Arispe said. “God had a plan and he’s been working the plan. We just had to be patient to go along with it.”
“We have talked through many, many different scenarios for locations, always bouncing it off the founding families,” he said.
If the Imagine Mableton location is approved by commissioners, the school will lease the property from Imagine Education but will have no other association with the education management company.
Arispe declined to say what the rental fee would be.
Jill Meiser, the SAE board of directors vice chair, said the old Imagine Mableton building has been one the group has had their eye on for quite some time.
“It’s truly the most attractive location from the standpoint that we had a lot of Mableton families that have enrolled,” she said. “Also, it’s move-in ready, only seven years old and in fantastic condition.”
She’s been associated with the school since July 2011.
“I’ve always been interested in improving educational options in south Cobb County,” she said. “We have such a dire need.”
She is also a fan of the curriculum, which they refer to as a “project-based learning method,” and that’s why she’s decided to send her rising second- and sixth-grade children to the school.
They have been attending The Heiskell School in Atlanta.
“Project based learning is going to challenge the kids to not just gain knowledge but to take that knowledge and apply it,” Meiser said.
She said there will be four subject-specific teachers in grades four through eight that will work together to create various projects to which students can apply their lessons. Preschool through third grade teachers will focus on strengthening the core subject areas.
The school has already played host to two school visits at the new location and is having a third on Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon.
So far, the school has received 150 applications for enrollment and the building’s capacity is around 650 students. Applications can be submitted online at saeschool.org. The fee is $98 and there is not a deadline.
The cost ranges between $7,850 for ages 1 through preschool, $8,900 for kindergarten students and $9,400 for first through eighth graders.
Each year the school is open, it will add another grade through 12th. They anticipate the first senior class to graduate in 2018.