After days of winter weather and overcast skies, the sunshine broke through for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Carlton Landing Academy, a new public magnet classical school to be located in Carlton Landing as part of the Canadian Public School District. The event was well attended by students, parents, educators and local area business and civic leaders.
In the moments before the event, boys and girls played in a grassy park with red, white and blue balloons. Promptly at four o’clock, the festivities were kicked off by the Canadian High School Drumline. Next was the Pledge of Allegiance, led by the local Eufaula Cub Scouts troop. Following the pledge, an invocation was offered by Pastor J. Ingram of the First Baptist Church, Eufaula.
In facilitating the event, Grant Humphreys, Town Founder of Carlton Landing, told the story of how the Carlton Landing Academy came to be. The planning process for Carlton Landing began in 2008, when internationally renowned urban planner Andrés Duany designed the master plan for the new community. “When Andrés and our team walked this land in 2008, we envisioned a new community and we knew we wanted to have a school in Carlton Landing,” said Humphreys. “We envisioned a school embedded in the community so that kids could walk safely to school, a school that could serve a broader purpose as a center of civic life, learning and culture.”
The Carlton Landing Academy will initially include Pre-K through 5th Grade. The Academy will add additional grades in future years as student demand warrants. As the school is a public school, there is no cost for tuition. Students from outside Carlton Landing or outside Canadian Public School District may attend as space is available. During the 2012-13 school year, openings in the Academy will be limited to the first 60 students. At the time of the groundbreaking event, at least 30 students had already registered.
While introducing Rodney Karch, Superintendent of Canadian Public Schools, Humphreys complimented the academic performance at Canadian. “We are thrilled to partner with Rodney Karch and Canadian Public Schools. With the highest test scores in Pittsburg County and all surrounding counties, Canadian has built a track record of academic excellence. We expect the Carlton Landing Academy to set a new standard and build on that tradition.”
Rodney Karch spoke from an educator’s viewpoint. “We are excited to see the Carlton Landing Academy break ground today. When Kirk and Grant approached us about creating a new school, we thought they were nuts. But they pulled it together and we see today that this school will become a reality. We’re excited to be part of that and expect great things for this new school.”
Following Karch’s comments, Humphreys called for the students who had registered to attend the Academy. As the group of students and their parents received a round of applause, golden shovels were distributed and the crowd made their way to the future site of the Carlton Landing Academy. Moments later, the ground was broken and cheers and applause erupted.
The event drew dozens of people from the local area as well as Oklahoma City and Dallas. An excitement for the new school was shared by all in attendance. “This is a historic day. It’s not every day you get to see a new school break ground. I’m just glad to be able to see it happen.” said Rick Gibbons, Eufaula businessman.
Parents of future students at The Academy were enthusiastic with hope for their children. “Growing up in a small town, I know the importance of a strong community. It’s great to see that same kind of community here today,” said Jen Humphreys, mother of five future students at the Carlton Landing Academy. “This school will be a part of our community. With its location across the street from an organic garden and the new nature center, I’m just so excited for my kids and the students at the Academy to have opportunities to get outside, connect with nature, and see where their food comes from.”
Background on Carlton Landing:
Carlton Landing began in 2008 when the Humphreys engaged Andrés Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk, or “DPZ”, to design a walkable community on the shores of Lake Eufaula. DPZ is known for creating more than 300 communities such as Seaside, Florida and Rosemary Beach. Duany assembled an international team of design professionals to create the master plan for Carlton Landing which covers almost 1,000 acres. The plan includes walkable streets, community pools, parks, a school, retail and restaurant areas and an organic farm. The community will be both “real” and “resort” with a mix of full-time residents and secondary home owners.
For more information about Carlton Landing, visit www.carltonlanding.com or call (888) 619-1889.