HUNTERSVILLE – Lake Norman Charter High School students start the school year Aug. 15 with an addition to their building. 

The addition, as well as some remodeling of the existing school, gives students amenities they didn’t have before – a choral room, band room, larger art room, multi-purpose area and technology suite.

The addition also gives school staff an office suite, which includes a teacher workroom, and a front office that provides tighter security with a buzz-in system and windows that give view to visitors at the door.

The $3 million addition completes the Lake Norman Charter campus, Managing Director Shannon Stein said.

When the school was established 15 years ago, the plan was to build the high school in phases.  Plans slowed down when the recession hit, as obtaining money to build became more difficult.

“We invested our money first in the classroom space for kids because we knew that was where our best (value) for our buck was going to be,” Stein said. “But … this is going to allow us to do some educational things we wouldn’t be allowed to do otherwise.”

The new technology suite will assist the school’s iPad initiative, where each student eventually will have access to a mobile device. The suite will also have a help desk where students can be trained.

“It’s a way for them to help us and for us to teach them,” Stein said.

Large skylights line the top of the new wing, providing more natural light, which studies have shown to help students learn better, Stein explained.

The new art room is equipped with three sinks, movable lights and tack strips to display students’ artwork. There is also a kiln and more storage space for teachers.

The office suite includes two conference rooms, one large, one small and an in-school-suspension room with a one-way mirror on one wall. A staff room provides teachers with their own cubby and room to perform office tasks. It’s an area they didn’t have before.

The multi-purpose room, which houses three storage rooms, will serve as a cafeteria as well as an auditorium for school theatrical productions. For performances, a portable 24-foot-by-36-foot stage will be assembled. The room can fit 400 people as a cafeteria and 600 for a performance.

With all the rain this summer, completion of the construction was cutting it close to the school’s first day of classes. The wet weather caused delays in getting the roof on and floor laid.

There was discussion of starting school and finishing what was left over winter break, Stein said.

“It’s nice not to have it be a plan B,” she said.