Board members, supporters break ground for new Macon Charter Academy

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Shovels hit the dirt in Macon as city leaders and supporters of the Macon Charter academy broke ground on Friday. 

Chances are you’ve never seen this before. Students, some of whom will be part of the first class at Macon Charter’s Academy, breaking ground. Co-founder Monya Rutland says that’s the idea — putting the children first. 

"Any time that there is a viable educational choice for parents that’s a good thing," Rutland said. 

Rutland, her husband Charles, and board members are getting closer to seeing their dream of a charter school in Macon become a reality. 

The project has been years in the making. 

"A breath of fresh air. We have a $10 million plus renovation that’s being done in historic Pleasant Hill, right on the fringes of the College Hill Corridor," Rutland said. 

Developers are knocking down the building where Hope Academy is, and turning it into a two story facility with state-of-the-art classrooms and office spaces. 

"It’ll have all of the technology and things that a new school should have that’ll really serve these children well," Glenn Hileman, the CEO of Highmark School Development — the group building the school, said.

Planners say building a new school is a cheaper route than renovating the old one.

"We’re acquiring this property and the design and then we’re going to be constructing a new facility on the premise that will compliment some of the existing structures," Hileman said. 

Rutland says the school has received more than 1200 applications for students to get into classes. She adds the school is offering a new "international baccalaureate" program that includes teaching kids a foreign language and longer hours in school for better retention.

"It shows that traditional public schools and charter schools can collaborate. We have some great community partners. This has truly been a village effort, and a village concept," Rutland said. 

After all, that is what it takes to raise a child. 

Crews are expected to finish up Macon Charter Academy by this August. Rutland says parents still have time to apply to get their kids in school.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at