Dickson Arts Magnet School, Renaissance Center purchase discussed

Dickson County school officials this week resumed discussions of creating a magnetic arts-focused school – and this time, Dickson’s Renaissance Center has been discussed as a possible future location.

The Magnet School, which would be aimed at students in grades 4 to 8, as well as the use of the 110,000 square foot Dickson monument on Highway 46 were discussed during the school board planning session on Tuesday evening. .

Principal of Secondary Education Dr Robbie Faulkner and Principal of Schools Dr Danny Weeks mainly focused on the types of students likely to attend Magnet School, how the school works and the benefits for talented students.

“After much discussion, we decided that a Magnetic School of Fine Arts would be a great addition to our district and provide another option for our students who are passionate about the arts,” Faulkner said. “We know from research that when we immerse students in the arts, their achievement scores increase as a result of that immersion.”

The Renaissance Center was proposed for the classroom space of the school as well as the central office of the school district. School officials have said for several years that the current central office is outdated and cramped.

Dr Danny Weeks

“I don’t think it’s a secret there is a really nice property in the south end of Dickson that could be very suitable for a program like this and that is for sale,” said the school principal, Dr. Danny Weeks, on the Renaissance Center site. . “We were approached informally with ‘What do you think? “”

The facility, located on 7.5 acres on Highway 46, first went on sale in August for $ 7.25 million.

Weeks said there have also been discussions about forming partnerships around creating a magnetic school at the 20-year-old single facility. Faulkner echoed the comments, saying school leaders had spoken to representatives from Cheekwood and other arts organizations in Middle Tennessee about a partnership.

The next step will be to survey students and parents of students to assess whether a magnetic school is desired.

The idea of ​​the magnetic school has been hinted at in recent years, but the topic was put aside in 2018 as school officials worked on building Burns Middle School and establishing Sullivan Central. Elementary School.

“A love and a passion for the arts”

Faulkner and Weeks said Magnet School’s tentative plan would be for Grades 4-8 students to “audition” for the school – and added that students “love and passion” for the arts would make the potential school “very inclusive” from all backgrounds.

Weeks pointed out that the school will offer a variety of arts education: music, theater, dance, sculpture, painting and drawing. He said digital arts could also be included.

Faulkner said the school would stop at Grade 8 because Dickson County and Creek Wood high schools already have “very strong fine arts programs.”

The school would likely have between 150 and 180 students, possibly up to 200, Faulkner said.

School board president Kirk Vandivort asked Weeks what a Magnet school facility would look like in theory.

“We’re talking about a limited number of students… probably 10 classrooms,” Weeks said, adding that he envisioned “large open spaces” that would be “big enough for groups to come together”.

Weeks said he sees Magnet School as a place where multiple classes are working on projects at the same time.

“It’s a lot of built-in spaces,” Weeks said.

Outside the satellite location of Freed-Hardeman University at Dickson at the Renaissance Center.

Renaissance Center, history

The property is currently occupied by three different entities; The Jackson Foundation, Nashville State Community College, and Freed-Hardeman University.

Freed-Hardeman President David Shannon in August described the decision to bring the facility to market as “difficult” but necessary to “ensure that we effectively fulfill our mission.”

The nonprofit Jackson Foundation donated the $ 25 million, 110,000 square foot facility to Freed-Hardeman University in 2013.

The Jackson Foundation established the Renaissance Center in 1999, four years after the foundation was established with the stated mission of “motivating and educating children and adults through the use of technology in the arts, sciences and of human sciences ”.

Related:Dickson magnetic school possible by 2020

Related:Renaissance Center for sale, Freed-Hardeman remaining in Dickson, officials say

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