Hopetree Academy, formerly known as the Gus Mitchell School, hosted a dedication service and open house for donors and luminaries from the community on Friday afternoon, September 11. Classes were held at the first time at the school’s new building on the Hopetree Family Services campus, formerly known as the Virginia Baptist Children’s Home, on Tuesday, September 8.
“I think the kids love the school, it’s certainly a big improvement over what we had,” said director Stephen Richerson. The Gus Mitchell School’s buildings dated back to the turn of the century, and there is even a hive of honeybees who’ve made a home inside one of the walls. There wasn’t enough room to update the program with the technology it needed to serve the school’s high risk or alternative education students.
The new educational center is a 32,000 square foot structure that houses academic and vocational programs, the day support program for the agency’s developmental disabilities ministry, as well as campus dining and meeting facilities, a greenhouse, and administrative spaces. The school is licensed to award seven different kinds of programs and provides a wide range of residential placement programs for at-risk youth across Virginia. The school also offers dual-enrollment courses with Virginia Western Community College and apprenticeship agreements with area businesses. Students can receive job training in over 20 different fields from nursing to auto mechanics to culinary arts.