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Agnor-Hurt Elementary Expansion Plan Moves Forward - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Agnor-Hurt Elementary Expansion Plan Moves Forward

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Agnor-Hurt Elementary School Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

Albemarle County is moving ahead with plans to expand an overcrowded elementary school. The nearly $5 million project will create classroom space that's far from the traditional rows of desks and walls of bookshelves.

The Albemarle County School Board has approved designs for the Agnor-Hurt Elementary School expansion. Right now, the school is 44 students over capacity. The limited room is creating a new way of learning that makes the most of the school's space.

Mia Shand sometimes lets her fifth-grade students lead the history lesson in her classroom at Agnor-Hurt.

“You're flipping the classroom. You're taking the learning away from the desk,” said Shand.

Shand's classroom creates what the school calls "maker spaces" where students perform plays, engineer mechanics, and edit videos.

“You can do a lot of things. It's fun learning instead of just reading, coming into class and getting a book every day,” said Keontae Hearns, a student.

“There's critical thinking going on, the communication between one another. There's a sense of no fears to take risks,” said Shand.

Next door to Shand’s classroom, students connect with experts around the world through the school's international portal.

“They actually have the opportunity to create and work with others, and it's become part of the natural way we run a classroom,” said Michele Castner, principal at Agnor-Hurt.

Albemarle County is designing an expansion to meet the needs of maker spaces. Walls separating classrooms will go away. Grade levels will blend in the new learning pavilions.

“It will be flexible. It will be open. It will create a different dynamic that we've not had before,” said Castner.

The project will add space for 132 students.

“When you have an expansion, this is a great opportunity to do that to improve the quality of spaces as well as the quantity,” said Steve Koleszar, Albemarle County School Board chairman.

Construction will start the day after this school year ends in June. It will take more than a year but will finish in time for the start of school in 2015.

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