It was a day of pride and gratitude. On September 16, kids, parents, elected officials and community leaders celebrated the completion of KIPP Durham College Prep, a public charter school dedicated to serving lower-income students and closing the achievement gap. “KIPP,” which is a national non-profit network of public charter schools, stands for the “Knowledge is Power Program.”
Self-Help owns the historic property, which was a Durham Public Schools building from the late 1920s through late 1990s, and rents to KIPP Eastern North Carolina. KIPP Durham opened last year for fifth graders, who started out by attending classes in the school’s gymnasium (equipped with temporary classrooms). Now, with the renovation complete and 180 fifth and sixth graders enrolled, KIPP Durham has 60,000 square-feet for learning and plenty of room to grow.
The KIPP Durham project represents a $13.5 million Self-Help investment in East Durham. Local firms DTW Architects designed the renovated facility and CT Wilson Construction performed the work. The work was made possible in part by the support of state and federal Historic Tax Credits, designed to help preserve and revitalize historic properties, and the federal New Markets Tax Credit, which encourages private investment in lower-income communities.
The ribbon-cutting event was all about a better future for KIPP Durham College Prep students, with an emphasis on the college prep. According to the Durham Herald-Sun, Johnson Akinleye, interim chancellor of North Carolina Central University, noted that the university has a number of KIPP graduates, and he said, "I know that there are so many of you who are aspiring to be Eagles. I invite you to come and join us at NCCU.”
Self-Help’s Dan Levine (far left) was happy to join the ribbon-cutting celebration. Among other adults attending (left to right): Minnie Forte-Brown, Durham Public Schools and KIPP ENC board member; Tammi Sutton, KIPP ENC Founder/ED; Anders Campbell, KIPP Durham Principal; Curtis Wynn, KIPP ENC Board Chair; Cora Cole-McFadden, Mayor Pro Temp of Durham; and Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye of NC Central University.