World Academy Expanding in Nashua

NASHUA – The physical presence of World Academy, a private school in south Nashua serving early childhood through eighth grade, will soon expand to match the programmatic growth the school has experienced over the past several years.

A $5 million construction project recently got underway at the school, which will result in a new middle school, gymnasium and theater complex to open in September 2012. The new building will house students in grades 4 through 8. For the past three years, students in those grades have been taking classes in space leased in the Grace Fellowship Church next door.

Kathy Nelson, head of the school, said after adding grades 7 and 8, the school’s advisory board decided there was a need to expand to keep up with the school’s growth.

Lisa Dias, the school’s principal, walked through the classroom spaces at the church, where Friday morning the students were working on an art project.

“We’re outgrowing it very quickly,” she said.

School officials stressed that while the classes are being held at the church temporarily, the school has no religious affiliation or educational mission. Nelson said the school offers a more comprehensive program than public schools, which gives parents a choice when it comes to education.

Dias said the school’s mission for middle school students is to teach them the importance of civic responsibility, global awareness and media literacy. The new building was designed in a way to encourage collaboration among students, as well as more natural lighting and integrated technology.

The layout of the classrooms and even the acoustics were taken into consideration when designing the new building to give the students the most comfortable learning environment possible, Dias said.

“When students feel ownership of their space, they feel valued,” she said. “The goal is to get them ready for the 21st century.”

In addition to the new building, the school is building a soccer field on the rear of its campus. With the new facility, the school will double its size, currently at 22,000 square feet.

“We’re answering to the parents whose students are here,” said Nelson.

The school offers an early childhood education program for those age 6 weeks to 4 years. It currently has an enrollment of about 350 students.