Breaking New Ground in Chester

Groundbreakers included (left to right): Chester Fund board chair James McEntee, Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Chester Housing Authority executive director Steven Fischer, CCSA board president and Swarthmorean publisher Donald Delson, CCSA head of school Akousa Watts, CCSA and Chester Fund founder John Alston, CCSA board member and campaign co-chair Barbara Klock, and campaign co-chair Salem Schuchman. Photo courtesy of Wide Eyed Studios

Groundbreakers included (left to right): Chester Fund board chair James McEntee, Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Chester Housing Authority executive director Steven Fischer, CCSA board president and Swarthmorean publisher Donald Delson, CCSA head of school Akousa Watts, CCSA and Chester Fund founder John Alston, CCSA board member and campaign co-chair Barbara Klock, and campaign co-chair Salem Schuchman. Photo courtesy of Wide Eyed Studios

The Chester Charter School for the Arts is making good on its name, with a host of school supporters and administrators joining Chester officials in breaking ground at the site which CCSA plans to occupy beginning in the 2017–2018 school year.

The school, now located in a rented facility in Aston, will move to the new site at 1200 Highland Avenue, which will accommodate 650 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

CCSA educates nearly 500 students in grades K through 9 from the Chester-Upland School District in an arts-integrated curriculum.

Since its founding in 2012, the school has improved attendance and academic performance year over year. Admission is open to all school-age Chester residents.

The new building – incorporating 90,000 square feet of educational space, performance space, gymnasium, studios and labs – will occupy three stories, adjoined by playing fields and a playground.

A capital campaign has already raised nearly $4 million of the total cost of $25 million, aided by a $1 million donation from an anonymous Swarthmore College alumnus, as well as gifts from the HBE Foundation and the McLean Contributionship.

CCSA Singers surround John Alston, founder of CCSA and Chester Fund and director of the Chester Children’s Chorus, who led them in “Imagine” and Oh Freedom!” Photo courtesy of Wide Eyed Studios

CCSA Singers surround John Alston, founder of CCSA and Chester Fund and director of the Chester Children’s Chorus, who led them in “Imagine” and Oh Freedom!” Photo courtesy of Wide Eyed Studios

CCSA scholars check out plans for the new school building, scheduled to open for the 2017-18 school year.

CCSA scholars check out plans for the new school building, scheduled to open for the 2017-18 school year.

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