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Springs charter school expands into former Riverside YMCA

By in Press Enterprise on November 25, 2017

By Ryan Hagen

When the first class of middle and high school students arrives at Springs Charter Schools’ new campus for the first time Tuesday, Nov. 29, they’ll see brand-new furniture, technology and other amenities — but they’ll also be surrounded by history.

The K-12 school, which has been based on Chicago Avenue for the past 2 1/2 years, is moving its Magnolia Student Center to the building occupied for more than 50 years by the YMCA.

The elementary students — about 300 of them — moved to the new campus, at 4020 Jefferson Street, in October. The remaining grades plan to move on their first day back from Thanksgiving vacation, bumping enrollment to 510.

Those students will find an expanded version of the same building used by generations of Riversiders, a legacy Principal Beverly Voechting actively instills.

“Everybody in this city owns this building,” Voechting said. “They have memories and stories here.”

To symbolize that, bricks with the names of people who donated to help build the YMCA in the 1960s.

The renovated and expanded building also matches the architectural style of the YMCA,which closed in 2013 after filing for bankruptcy.

The school is part of Springs Charter Schools, which teaches 7,000 Southern California students in its education centers and helps coordinate home schooling for another 2,500 students.

All students have at least one day of home school per week, on Monday, so they won’t be back on campus until Tuesday.

For the younger students who have already filled the walls with artwork and made themselves at home, the new campus is a huge improvement, said Ana Munoz, who teaches 1st grade.

Most apparent to her class is that instead of using the parking lot as a playground, they have two separate playgrounds.

“Every time a car pulled up they’d have to freeze, wait, start playing again, then freeze again for […]    

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