GLENVILLE The private Saratoga Academy for the Arts and Sciences, which operates an elementary school in Halfmoon, will launch a middle school next September in Schenectady County, officials announced Monday.
The new Saratoga Academy for Leadership and Maritime Programs will serve grades five through eight in the Capital Region Maritime Center that overlooks the Mohawk River in the hamlet of Alplaus, founder and headmaster Michael Christensen said in the center.
The new school will focus on math, science and technology. It will serve as a resource to teach young people about the Erie Canal System, and spur new ideas for marine technologies and business development.
The school will accept tuition-paying students from throughout the region, with a concentration on those who reside in the corridor that separates Schenectady and Saratoga counties, Christensen said.
"We're excited by the opportunities," the headmaster told a group of about 50, including 21 students who have committed to attending the new school. The school expects to start next year with a minimum of 50 students, he said. Annual tuition is $6,000.
The private, independent middle school is an extension of Saratoga Academy's elementary school at Executive Park Drive in Halfmoon, which is attended by 235 students. It's meant to present an alternative for parents who feel public schools in the area have grown too large. It specializes in tailoring programs to meet students needs, Christensen said.
The school would open with at least five employees, with hopes to grow that to about 25. Saratoga Academy signed a three-year lease on the mostly vacant Capital Region Maritime Center. The building was dedicated in May 2001. The BOCES' Capital Region Maritime Academy vacated the facility last year after making it home for 10 years.
Pete Bardunias, president of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, helped bring Saratoga Academy and the maritime center together. Monday's event was attended by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco; Brian U. Stratton, the director of the New York State Canal Corp.; and several other officials. Those wishing to enroll in the school should go to the academy's website, or call 649-9524. An open house is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 26 in the maritime center.
Kim Dunn of Halfmoon will send her children, Ricky, 12, and Nicholas, 11, to the new middle school. She switched her kids to Saratoga Academy from Shenendehowa schools last year to take advantage of smaller class sizes.
"So far, it's been great," Dunn said. "The middle school is coming at a great time for us."