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Ashley Academy eyeing Tri-Cities Christian School building as possible new location

Madison Mathews • Dec 7, 2012 at 10:16 PM

In order to better meet student growth and additional programs, Ashley Academy is looking at relocating from its Knob Creek Road home.

“We really are in need of a new facility or changes to this facility, and we really don’t have the land to change or do something that would be aesthetically pleasing to the area,” Headmaster Tyler Fleming said.

Ashley Academy, which was appraised in 2008 at $650,000, sits on about 1.8 acres and is adjacent to Metro-Kiwanis Park. The property consists of five connected buildings constructed between 1960 and 1996 with a total of about 12,000 square feet.

Up until this past week when the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board determined Ashley’s property at 1502 Knob Creek Road would be a great location to put an arts or nature center, discussions of the school’s move had been in casual conversation.

During Thursday night’s City Commission meeting, commissioners asked for the property to be reappraised and gave approval for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to begin negotiations with the academy.

While no talk of price points or timelines have taken place between city officials and the school’s board of directors, Fleming said the potential for future growth at Ashley’s current location is limited.

“It just didn’t lend itself to any expansion or room for growth and we talked with the city about the possibility if they would be interested because we have another property that had come available that we were possibly interested in, and so we visited that facility and saw that it met our long-term needs,” Fleming said.

The location Ashley is eyeing is the former home of Tri-Cities Christian School at 2423 Susannah St. That facility closed in 2009.

Fleming said the facility would benefit the Ashley’s needs as it continues to grow and look at the possibility of adding a high school element to their curriculum.

Ashley Academy is currently a pre-K-8th grade facility that is home to about 110 students. Enrollment last year was at 120 students, Fleming said.

When Fleming took over the role of headmaster of the school a little more than two years ago, enrollment was under 100.

Whatever happens with a potential move or growth of the school’s overall program, Fleming said Ashley will continue to keep its focus on small classes.

“We still want to keep the intimacy of Ashley Academy and intimacy of the small classes and the teacher-to-pupil ratio, because we feel that’s what makes our school unique, but we’d like the opportunity to have two first grades instead of one or three kindergartens instead of two,” he said.

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