A vacant building on Route 130, formerly home of the Gateway Christian Center for nine years, could see new life as a boarding school for high school students as early as this summer.
The property is in Mashpee, very near the Sandwich town line.
Marcus Hamaker, executive director of the Christian-based school, which will be called New England Leadership Academy, presented his plans for the 18,000-square-foot building to the Mashpee Design Review Committee earlier this week.
The privately funded accredited academy, when fully operational, will enroll approximately 60 students, most from out-of-state, who will live on campus. An estimated 45 staff members will be employed at the school.
Mr. Hamaker said that the school will cater to students who have been experiencing difficulties in a normal high school environment.
“This will be somewhat of an early intervention program for kids that are beginning to go sideways a bit. Some of them could have been experimenting with drugs and alcohol, been running with the wrong crowd, made rebellious decisions that have affected their school life, or have ADHD or slight depression. We want to get them excited and focused about making good choices for their future,” he said.
While the co-educational school will be non-denominational, it will teach and follow Christian Biblical principles. Boys and girls will be taught in separate classrooms by separate staffs. Mr. Hamaker indicated that there would be little interaction between boys and girls at the school.
Prior to moving to Hyannis with his family last summer, Mr. Hamaker was Head of School at Abundant Life Academy, a Christian therapeutic boarding school in St. George, Utah.
Mr. Hamaker, whose business partner is a Subway franchisee with locations primarily in Puerto Rico, also hopes to open trade-oriented businesses, such as construction or landscaping, and possibly a restaurant franchise to provide “work/study” opportunities for the school’s students. The business partner is also familiar with Cape Cod, as he has a son that attends The Riverview School on Route 6A in Sandwich. A complete interscholastic sports program is also being planned for the school.
“We have a big vision,” Mr. Hamaker said, admitting that the school’s opening date of June 1 is aggressive, as it has some infrastructure issues to address.
“There are some major hurdles that the school needs to overcome, primarily getting connected to town water and obtaining septic system approval, but if things move smoothly it could get done pretty fast,” Mashpee Health Agent Glen E. Harrington said.
The building is currently limited to accommodating 16 people, as it is restricted by the size and radius of a private well. In addition, the septic system is currently built for 1,200 gallons a day, while according to a formula used to determine capacity it would need to be upgraded to accommodate nearly 4,200 gallons per day. “But the DEP often grants variances to schools,” Mr. Harrington said.
Once the school opens its doors, enrollment at New England Leadership Academy will not be inexpensive. Mr. Hamaker said that he expects tuition and room and board to cost approximately $4,500 to $5,500 per month, or $40,500 to $49,500 per school year.