Sussex Academy ready to ‘wing’ it

27 ACADEMY students dig in let fly

Sussex Academy students take part in the Jan. 21 ground-breaking for the school’s new middle school wing.

GEORGETOWN – For middle school students, Sussex Academy is poised to ‘wing’ it.

Two weeks after breaking ground for its new aquatic center, Sussex Academy on Thursday hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking to celebrate construction of a new middle school wing at the school campus on Airport Road in Georgetown.

Jennifer Scott, Sussex Academy Executive Board president, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the school's new middle school wing.

Jennifer Scott, Sussex Academy Executive Board president, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new middle school wing.

“This is an especially exciting day for us as it marks the final phase in a building project that has spanned more than three years,” said Jennifer Scott, Sussex Academy Executive Board president.

With hardhats and shovels, Sussex Academy students were hands-on groundbreaking participants, turning over dirt at the site of the approximate 30,000 square-foot middle school wing that will have:

  • 12 classrooms;
  • three science labs;
  • administrative offices; and
  • a multi-purpose room that will be utilized for middle school physical education classes, team expedition showcases, meetings and activities. It is middle school basketball regulation size and suitable for high school volleyball matches and practices, as needed.

The $6.4 million project is underway with projected completion in August, in time for the start of the 2016-17 year.

Funding for the new wing is being made possible from a $4.9 million loan from NCALL. When construction is completed in late August, the loan will be repaid by a permanent 40-year mortgage from the USDA of $4.9 million.

Ms. Scott said NCALL is “our interim borrower until the USDA funds become available to us.”

Sussex Academy is a tuition free, charter/public school open to all grade 6-11 students residing in Delaware. Next year Sussex Academy expands to grades 6-12.

With the new middle school wing, enrollment is expected to max out at 770 students.

“We don’t exactly know what it will be, but that is what we have predicted. What we projected is 770,” Ms. Scott said. “That is actually the maximum that we can have according to our charter. And we are fully subscribed so I can’t imagine that we are going to be under that.”

The day before the middle school wing groundbreaking Sussex Academy held a lottery for sixth-grade admissions.

“And we will be conducting a lottery also for the ninth grade because we are over-subscribed for the ninth grade as well,” said Ms. Scott, adding that “next year we will graduate our first class of high school students.”

“Sussex Academy has excellent students, committed parents and an outstanding faculty,” Ms. Scott said. “To welcome our first graduating class and provide our middle school students with a separate learning area makes our school complete.”

27 ACADEMY dr wray with wing design

Dr. Gary Wray, co-founder of Sussex Academy Arts and Sciences that opened as a grade 6-8 school in 2000, stands next to design plans for Sussex Academy’s new middle school wing.

Sussex Academy opened in the fall of 2000 as Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences at a campus on Sussex Pines Road in Georgetown. Enrollment at that opening was approximately 225 students.

In June 2013, Sussex Academy swapped properties with Delmarva Christian High School – a much larger school and campus – to meet each school’s respective enrollment/facility needs and educational missions.

On hand for the middle school wing groundbreaking were founders, lenders, elected officials, board members, advocates and supporters.

“As I look out into the audience I see the faces of people who have helped Sussex Academy become who we are today,” said Ms. Scott. “We are so fortunate to have such a massive group of supporters for our school.”

Fundraisers were recognized.

“We thank you all but in particular we thank Joe Schell. You truly put your money where your mouth is in helping us to raise the money that we needed to raise to turn our dream school into a reality,” said Ms. Scott.

On Jan. 7, 2016 at a ceremony attended by Joe Schell’s son, Chris Schell, ground was broken for a state-of-the-art aquatic center that is being donated by Schell Brothers. The indoor pool and amenities are projected to be completed by mid-summer, possibly July.


News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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