With construction of the new Fell Charter School well underway, an accompanying surge in student registrations has the facility already approaching maximum enrollment.
"Gratefully, we are almost filled to capacity," offered CAO/Principal Mary Jo Walsh.
She stated that the kindergarten through 8th grade building will hold up to 225 students, and she encouraged parents who are interested in enrolling their kids at Fell Charter to do so quickly.
"They really need to enroll them right now," she related, "because we're registering new students at a steady pace and we'll be completing the enrollment process by the end of February. After that, we'll have a waiting list which people can sign onto."
Walsh noted that interest in enrollment spiked almost as soon as Fell Charter announced its plans to construct a new facility, which will be located at their previous site just off Rt. 171 in Simpson. She said interest increased as construction has moved forward.
"As people have seen that this is really going to happen, they wanted to get in on the ground floor, so to speak," she explained. "With the new facility there will also be new technologies, additions to the curriculum, and much more."
"It's going to truly be a state-of-the-art building," she added.
As for the construction project itself, which began just after Thanksgiving, she said it has gone incredibly smoothly from the start.
"There have been no major problems, only a few very minor delays due to weather," she related. "All of the footers are in, the concrete is poured, and the steel is expected to arrive in the second week of February."
At that point, she noted, it won't be long before locals start seeing the shell of the new building as they drive past the Main Street locale in Simpson.
Walsh also stated that the general contractor, Grimm Construction, is a company located in Honesdale, and all of the subcontractors on the project are locally-based as well.
"We wanted to make sure, as best we could, that these were all local people working on the project," she explained, "and that all of the money spent on it was being done locally."
The new school is being funded by a $6.5 million federal loan, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fell Charter is partnering with Fidelity Bank on the project.
Fell Charter's new facility is scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year. The target date for the completion of the project is Aug. 15.
"As we get closer to the grand opening," Walsh noted, "open houses will be held and tours of the facility will be offered to the community."