Uncommon Schools

North Star Academy Charter School, Vailsburg Campus

Newark, NJ

Project Details

“Succeed in College and Change History”

For more than 15 years, the North Star Academy Charter Schools have been preparing their students to enter, succeed in and graduate from college.  Home to an elementary and middle school, the Vailsburg neighborhood of Newark is well-known for its strong sense of community, and actively partners with students and staff to make North Star one of the highest-performing public schools in New Jersey.

The co-located schools had been leasing and sharing a building from the Archdiocese of Newark, but were recently presented with the opportunity to purchase the facility and its adjacent property in order to create a permanent home for Vailsburg’s 1,000 students.  Although a number of improvements had been made to the existing building, critical upgrades were needed.

The project called to bring the ailing structure up-to-date, and to transform the tired building into an efficient and inspiring learning environment.  The 80,000 sf renovation encompassed 30 classrooms, administrative offices, a music room, and a teacher prep room. Additionally, the demolition of the adjacent former convent made way for a new 9,000 sf gymnasium, built to accommodate 600 occupants, a middle-school regulation basketball court, gym equipment, a temporary stage, and storage.

Uncommon Schools and the North Star Academy hold academic excellence and student achievement as their greatest priorities, thus inspiring students to “succeed in college and change history”.  Their ability to provide a long term, high quality and low maintenance space for their school enables their financial resources to be more readily allocated in support of that mission.

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