Project Summary
Movement Schools

Bringing a network of community-focused, public charter schools to Charlotte and beyond.

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The Space
Square Footage 286,000
Location Charlotte, NC

The Movement Foundation believes access to proper education has the ability to transform the trajectory of young lives in every city they serve. Movement Schools provide students with a world-class education where families have historically lacked access to schooling options. These dramatic transformations take aging buildings and turn them into flourishing, top-notch educational facilities.

Movement School Freedom Drive

Movement School Freedom Drive, Choate’s first project with the Foundation, comes to life with a full interior renovation of a 99,000-SF space previously occupied by a big-box retail conglomerate. Located in a low-income area, Movement School Freedom Drive is the flagship school in Charlotte for the Foundation’s mission to provide an abundance of impactful support and resources to the community.

During preconstruction, Choate’s Virtual Design + Construction (VDC) team used laser scanning or “high-definition surveying” to map a site or area with incredible accuracy. By laser-scanning the existing structure, the team was able to examine the original slab and work with the design team on programming and design coordination. Through this technology and early involvement, the Choate team made recommendations on cost-effective solutions to avoid long lead items.

The renovation includes a front-façade makeover featuring aluminum composite panels, EIFS, and aluminum-framed storefront window systems. The entire building receives fresh paint along with a new roof. The parking lot undergoes sealcoating and a redesigned layout.

Movement School Freedom Drive was completed in five months and is a fantastic addition to the West Charlotte community.

Movement School Eastland

A 35,000-SF retail building is repurposed into another Movement School facility through a complete transformation of the exterior façade and full interior renovation. Included in the exterior upfit is a two-story, 61,000-SF steel framed addition, with exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFS) and aluminum composite material (ACM) paneling to bring the front entrance of the charter school to life.

Due to the extent of the interior renovation, the team utilized powerful structural supports and “demolition robots” that perform the demolition, as opposed to members of the project team. This high-tech method – while a little reminiscent of the NYPD’s “robot dogs” – makes the demolition much safer and ultimately more efficient than having individuals perform the work in person.

Interiorly, students will find a large “cafegymatorium,” complete with stage, serving kitchen, and moveable basketball hoops. This multi-purpose space offers flexibility for Movement School’s Eastland campus. Engaging classrooms provide the optimal space for personalized instruction and academics, and a relaxing teachers’ lounge offers a space to unwind.

Movement Eastland was constructed in the height of COVID-19 with record-setting rain delays, yet the team did not let that negatively impact the project schedule. As the start date for classes had been moved up earlier in the year, the school was delivered four weeks ahead of schedule so the faculty and staff had time to prepare their classrooms for the incoming students.

Rally Charlotte – Middle School & Community Center

Choate partners with repeat client, Movement Foundation on vertical construction of a 48,000-SF charter school and community center. Designed to be a safe and welcoming space to students and the community, the school includes four main components: (1) traditional school environment requiring security and access control, (2) middle school classrooms with dedicated science labs, (3) community rooms and teaching kitchen with a secondary entrance removed from the school, and (4) gymnasium and fitness center to serve the school and after hours to benefit the greater community. A 14,000-SF, 30-foot clear height gymnasium including basketball goals, retractable bleachers, hardwood flooring, scoreboards along with locker rooms complete the facility.

Movement School Southwest

Movement School Southwest is the fourth Movement School Choate constructs for non-profit Movement Foundation which seeks to reinvest in the local community.  The vacant, previous class-A office space is repurposed into a complete buildout of a charter school. Featuring Pre-K through 5th grade classrooms, the school includes group/breakout rooms, a hybrid library and media center, indoor play area and multi-function room, catering kitchen, and cafeteria. Additional improvements include new main entrance and lobby reception.


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