Charter School Plans To Open In August At Vacated Wellington Christian

A performance arts charter school is slated to open this August in Wellington on the former Wellington Christian School campus.

The Eagle Arts Academy Charter School of the Arts will purchase the property after Wellington Christian closes its doors in May, school officials announced last month.

“We started the process about three weeks ago,” said C. Ron Allen with CRA Media Group, representing the school. “We had been looking since October for a place in Delray Beach. We found there was a real need for another such school, especially in the southern part of the county. We couldn’t find the space we needed.”

Earlier this year, Wellington Christian School announced it would be closing its doors after leaders of Wellington Presbyterian Church, which owns the school, decided to sell the property on Wellington Trace.

“We didn’t hesitate,” Allen said.

Eagle Arts Academy was founded by Gregory James Blount, an independent producer and talent agent. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank achievable in the Boy Scouts of America, and chose to name the school accordingly.

The school plans to open with nearly 900 students in kindergarten through sixth grade in its first year. Eagle Arts has been approved for up to 1,500 students through eighth grade by the end of a three-year period. One grade level will be added each year.

Because the charter school is replacing an existing school, Allen said Eagle Arts will be able to move in without a public hearing process.

“We can’t make any alterations to the building, but we can repaint the interior and do whatever it takes to provide what we need for our classes, within reason,” he said.

Wellington Planning & Zoning Manager David Flinchum confirmed the information.

“It’s going to be the same type of age mix and operations that were there formerly with Wellington Christian,” he said. “The church will remain and continue, but won’t be affiliated with the school. As long as it looks and operates like the previous school did, no public hearings are required.”

Schools fall under the village’s institutional designation, Flinchum said.

If the school plans to expand or offer activities that could impact the neighborhood, Flinchum said it would need to go through the traditional permitting process.

“If they wanted to add a football team or a marching band, for example, that didn’t exist before, that’s something we’d want to know about,” he said.

Allen said the school will eventually have to expand to accommodate all its students.

“We’re going to be expanding the buildings and adding one more grade next year,” he said. “We’re cramped for space right now.”

In the meantime, the existing buildings will be retrofitted with a green screen studio, digital media editing facility, TV studio, and acting, dance and vocal studios to support Eagle Arts’ infused curriculum.

“If you see kids on a Saturday morning in front of the television, there’s nothing you can do to get their attention,” Allen said. “How do children learn information best? By learning songs, singing along and interacting with the information. We’re going to use the same concept.”

Eagle Arts has tapped Dr. Liz Knowles, formerly of the Pine Crest School, as its head of school. “She’s a master at this sort of learning,” Allen said. “We’re looking forward to working with her.”

Allen said Eagle Arts is expected to close on the property in May but has already put a deposit down on the site.

“We’re giving [Wellington Christian] an opportunity to finish the school year,” he said. “Some good Samaritans made this happen. A lot of people believe in what we’re doing.”

Allen said hundreds of students have already applied to be accepted into the school. The first lottery deadline ended Tuesday, but additional lotteries may be conducted, if necessary.

Eagle Arts hopes to reach out to the Wellington community, becoming a true community school, Allen said.

“We want residents to know we’re here to work with them and answer any questions we can,” he said. “We want to be a neighbor, part of the community. We’re here for the kids. We don’t want to be seen as just a charter school, but as a school for kids and their families.”

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