ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After several years and not a few hiccups along the way, the Fulton Science Academy reopened its doors Aug. 27 as a private school.
The 72,000-square-foot building sits on 18 acres of land along Encore Parkway, across Ga. 400 from North Point Mall. Students began classes Aug. 24.
At the grand opening, Principal Kenan Sener greeted his students in the cafetorium with arms raised to cheers of “FSA!” by the student body.
“This has been a long journey,” Sener said. “Three years ago we were a charter school with 101 students. Now we are a private school, and have a new building and 365 students.”
The school focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, yet Sener said there is still plenty of encouragement for creativity and self-expression. The students of the FSA Private School routinely land in the top slots in local, state and national competitions in STEM fields. He attributes the school’s repeated academic successes to “lots of hands-on activities and inquisitive and project-based learning.”
The road has been rocky for FSA. A charter school for 10 years, the school had a reputation for topping Fulton County’s academic lists. In 2012 the school ran afoul of county regulators and ultimately lost its charter. The governing board decided to switch to a private school.
“After 10 years, even though we were successful, there was no other option. We became a private school,” Sener said.
The new state-of-the-art school cost about $15 million, Sener said. The money came from private funding.
“This is a big upgrade for us,” he said.
The grand opening featured dignitaries such as Sen. John Albers and State School Superintendent Richard Woods. Enes Kaner, a 6-foot-11 player for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, was on hand. However, even he was not the tallest person in the room. That honor was for Sultan Kosen, the tallest man on Earth (according to Guinness World Records), standing at 8-foot-3. He was head-and-shoulders taller than Kaner.
Sener said he hopes to begin offering high school classes next year. A second phase of construction is planned that will ultimately house a high school.
Sener said he only has a simple goal for the school – “We hope to become a nationally ranked school. We think we are going in the right direction.”
The Fulton Science Academy Private School is located at 3035 Fanfare Way, Alpharetta, and online at www.fultonscienceacademy.org.