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Aiken Scholars Academy, UofSC Aiken Launch Facility Project for Permanent ‘Home of the Phoenix’ for 2021-22

AIKEN, S.C. – Aiken Scholars Academy Principal Martha Messick could not have been more proud standing behind the podium Wednesday morning at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center on campus at UofSC Aiken as she announced the launch of a school facility project that will see her students move into a new permanent “Home of the Phoenix” for the 2021-22 school year.

“We are extremely ecstatic for what the future holds in terms of the brick and mortar school, but more importantly for what it holds for our students and how we’re preparing them for their future,” stated Messick. “Seeing the school district as well as USC Aiken come together to build this school, going from concept to a program, and now to a physical building is just tremendous.”

Aiken County Superintendent King Laurence led the District’s planning for Aiken Scholars Academy and expressed his appreciation for Principal Messick’s leadership as well as the partnership with UofSC Aiken, led by Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan.

“Mrs. Messick has done an incredible job here as principal and we are just a half a year away from a full student body of 200 students so we are excited about that, and our partnership with USC Aiken can do nothing but grow,” commented Superintendent Laurence. “You cannot say enough about Dr. Jordan’s leadership in this process. Many years ago, the first time we discussed this concept it just didn’t gain any momentum and she didn’t give up on it. Then four or five years later we came back to it and really rolled up our sleeves. It’s going to be a great school and a wonderful experience for our Aiken Scholars Academy students.”

UofSC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan says interest in Aiken Scholars Academy will only expand with the launch of the new facility project. Applications for the incoming freshman Aiken Scholars Academy student cohort are live online through March 1st

“I am so thrilled to be here with you today to celebrate the Aiken Scholars Academy and the commencement of the renovations for their new school,” added UofSC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan. “I predict the new school, with its modern interior and its beautiful courtyard, and state-of-the-art technologies, will generate tremendous interest in this unique program.”

The Ruth Patrick Science Education Center has been a high-quality home for Aiken Scholars Academy since opening with its first cohort of 50 students in the fall of 2018, but as the school prepares to add a fourth cohort to bring its student population to 200, a new home featuring an expanded footprint and additional student-centered amenities was needed.

The new facility will place Aiken Scholars Academy students in close proximity to the university’s emerging research and technology hub which will be home to the DreamPort Cybersecurity Collaborative with the Savannah River National Laboratory and S.C. National Guard and the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative with the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The new school’s location is very meaningful,” commented Chancellor Jordan. “It will be located diagonally across from the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center, which is a great resource for Aiken Scholars Academy students. It will also be directly across the street from the DreamPort Cybersecurity Collaborative and Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative where students will be able to interact with specialists and attend events.”

“All of these cool things are part of their future and mine, and placing the new school there places it on the edge of the technologies frontier and innovation,” she added.    

Aiken Scholars Academy is open to any current ACPSD student, or a student residing in Aiken County. Applications for the 2021-22 freshman cohort at Aiken Scholars Academy are live through March 1st and may be accessed by clicking on the link AIKEN SCHOLARS APPLICATION and creating a unique PowerSchool account for the ASA application process.

Aiken Scholars Academy Student Body President Kayla Goldschmidt says it’s an exciting time to be a member of the Phoenix family.

“It’s really a great feeling,” Kayla stated. “The Ruth Patrick Science Education Center has been great to us and the staff has been very helpful in accommodating student needs, but it’s going to be nice to have a new home of our own where we can do more things. It’s been a great experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the new space and moving in.”

The school will host a virtual information session Thursday, February 11th at 6:00 p.m. for parents and students who are interested in Aiken Scholars Academy. More information is available online at