EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — After three years without, students at Principle Academy Charter School will soon have a dedicated athletic area for sports and recreation.

“It’s just an exciting project for the school, which currently didn’t have anything but a traditional outdoor portable basketball court,” said Marty Small, the school’s dean of athletics, recreation and governmental affairs. “It just opens the students up to more options and gives them more activities to do during recess.”

CTX, a construction company based in Hammonton, has donated about $75,000 worth of time and materials to building a basketball court for Principle Academy, part of a larger project to create an outdoor athletic, play and learning space at the charter school.

Work began Saturday ripping up the asphalt behind the charter school inside the Cardiff Power Center on the Black Horse Pike as part of the pro-bono work the company has agreed to do. The positive news for the school comes amid a restructuring that saw a new management company put in place and nine employees laid off in March.

CTX general manager Albert Alessandrine said that the decision to donate the work was made after visiting the school for a quote at the request of Small, also an Atlantic City councilman.

“The important thing that we saw when we got there was how the students were reacting to the teacher and the program,” Alessandrine said. “We decided that we would scrape the funds up and we would put the basketball court in.”

The school, which opened in 2015 as International Academy of Atlantic City Charter School at a church in Pleasantville, has never had a gymnasium and has relied on nice weather to be able to bring the students outside for physical education.

The school moved to its current location at the mostly vacant strip mall in Egg Harbor Township at the start of the 2017-18 school year and developed plans for the outdoor areas on the blacktop behind the building.

“On days when it’s nice outside, it’s important for us to get them outside and the back parking lot was unsuitable,” said Peter Caporilli, the charter school’s founder and former board president.

Caporilli recently stepped down to create a new management group for the school with other former board members called Polymath.

CTX will pave the area where the regulation-size basketball court will be installed.

In November, the board of Principle Academy approved awarding a $75,000 contract to Tidewater Workshop of Pleasantville, owned by Caporilli, for the outdoor learning area. Caporilli said the furniture is ready to be installed as soon as the surface is ready. The area will also include a community garden and could be ready before the end of the school year.

Caporilli said the school is currently seeking sponsors for the playground equipment.

“When you have a small building that doesn’t really accommodate everything you want, you have to work with the school you have not the school you wish you had,” he said.

There are also future plans to expand the school and install a gymnasium. Small, who was hired in his current position earlier this school year and has experience running athletic programs throughout the region, said he would be assisting in the design.

“This is the first year that they’ve had athletics period, I’m just getting started,” he said.

In addition to basketball, Small has set up a flag football team and cheerleading program this year. Next year, he wants to implement swimming, wrestling, karate and nonathletic clubs like photography and drama.

Both Caporilli and Small said they are focused on building strong community partners to provide more activities for the students.

“You have to have successful community relationships and partners to get things done these days,” he said. “A lot of the community is excited.”

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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