Sarasota Military Academy begins campus expansion

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SARASOTA - A popular Suncoast charter school continues to grow. The Sarasota Military Academy broke ground Thursday on a new three-story classroom wing.

With the raising of the flag and a shovel into the ground comes the next phase in the rapid growth of the school.

“Well, it’s probably the biggest day in the history of the school, to be honest with you." School Headmaster Dan Kennedy came up with the idea for the academy while he was principal at Sarasota High, its values touting ‘selfless service, integrity and duty’ have connected to parents and their children who want a unique high school experience.

Students like Cadet Colonel Elizabeth McKenney, the highest ranking cadet at the school. She attended grade school on the campus when it was St. Martha's School. She's proud the learning will continue there for decades to come as Sarasota Military Academy. "It’s got history to it, but also to adapt someone else's history to start your own, so different, and I think for this school to make their own kind of history is just fantastic. I think it's the best thing possible."

The three-story addition will include 22 new state of the art classrooms along with science and computer labs. It will be called the Urfer Campus, for Sarasota resident Jack Urfer. His $5 million donation helped make the project a reality. “Just simply amazing that Jack would do this for our school. He told me privately that his impression of the students was completely responsible for his donation," says Kennedy.

The new building will be ready for students next August. The final phase of the campus improvement plan will someday be a new auditorium on the southern end of the school.