SOAR Learning Center began a new chapter in its history on May 1, 2018 with a formal ground-breaking ceremony for their newly expanded classroom facility and campus. With the support of the Greater Hurst Chapel AME church and a group of local donors, the expansion from a 930 sq. ft building to a 3000 sq. ft. facility and campus has been in the works for the past two-and-a-half years. The expansion enables the program to build on its history of success while establishing a strong footing for the future.
Reflecting on the new potential and future of SOAR, program founder Mrs. Jacquelyn Paulk commented “at a time when the foundations of learning for our children are critical to their life success, we’re thrilled to see the community coming together to invest in our children’s futures. We welcome others to join us in this great effort.” The campus— which will bear its founder’s name— will contain four classrooms, a library, kitchen, multi-purpose homework/ media room, an enclosed courtyard and open activity areas. The target date for opening the center’s doors is late summer, which will allow time to fine-tune the facilities in time for the next school year. The center will provide an ideal environment for dynamic student learning, teacher/ tutor training, and parent and community programs.
The architect for the project is Sweet Sparkman Architects, with Jerry Sparkman and Karl Bernhard taking lead roles. According to architect Sparkman, “Mrs. Paulk and her team gave input on the design of the facility at every step, from the overall scale to the finest details, colors, materials, and textures— all to ensure the students’ focus, comfort, and quality learning experience. Mrs. Paulk also stressed the importance of integrating the outdoors into the design as a place to celebrate student accomplishments and gather the community.” The construction company for the project is DuCon Construction, headed by local resident Ernest F. DuBose III.