Months after fire raged through Charlotte school, plans for new $11M building announced

Clarification: This story has been updated with the school’s current enrollment and grades served.

In just a few months, as spring arrives, construction of a new $11 million two-story lower building at Charlotte Preparatory School is expected to begin, the school announced Monday.

At 24,650 square feet, the new building will be twice the size of the previous building that burned down last summer in a three-alarm fire.

“In addition to uniting our entire lower school in a new state-of-the-art building, the new space will house a much larger cafeteria, collaborative workspaces, student support offices, and more,” said Chris Marblo, head of the school. “This is truly a transformative moment in our school’s history.”

The new lower building will house students in grades K-4, in 10 classrooms, each 950 square feet, as well as a large, multi-use dining hall, and other offices and workspaces.

Rendering of the front of the new Charlotte Preparatory School lower building, which is currently scheduled to open in fall 2025 and hold grades K-4.
Rendering of the front of the new Charlotte Preparatory School lower building, which is currently scheduled to open in fall 2025 and hold grades K-4.

Fire tears through school

The announcement of the new building comes less than a year after a fire tore through the previous lower building, causing what the Charlotte Fire Department estimated to be $2.5 million in damages at the time. The school previously said it anticipated “the costs to be much higher.”

The fire department began investigating the cause of the fire last summer. A spokesperson for the fire department could not be reached on Monday.

Located in South Charlotte on Boyce Road, Charlotte Prep seats 426 students in grades pre-K-8. The school was created in 1971 as Charlotte Montessori before moving to its current location. It went under a name change in 1998 and added its middle school campus.

After firefighters extinguished the fire on June 26, the extent of the damage became clearer, with most of the building, aside from some walls, burned to the ground. The fourth-grade cottage also sustained some water and smoke damage.

No one was injured in the fire, but the school had to quickly scramble to get modular classrooms to house students.

Currently, a school spokesperson said, kindergarten is in one modular, grades 1-3 are in another, and fourth grade is in a separate building. The new building will allow all Lower School classrooms to be housed in the same building for the first time, the school said.

Renderings of the new building, which the school says are not final, were published on the school’s website. They show off what the exterior of the new building could potentially look like.

Rendering of the rear of the proposed Charlotte Preparatory School lower building, which is slated to begin construction this fall.
Rendering of the rear of the proposed Charlotte Preparatory School lower building, which is slated to begin construction this fall.

The announcement said Little Diversified Architectural Consulting is the architect, and Choate Construction is the general contractor.

The school is currently slated to open in the fall of 2025.