Better Call Behnken: Classes begin Monday for Hillsborough charter school

Avant Garde Academy Westchase is still under construction.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The future of Avant Garde Academy Westchase looks brighter Friday.

The building is not ready yet, but classes will begin on Monday at a nearby church.

This school was supposed to open weeks ago, when public school started on Aug. 10. Contractor Alan Zirklebach said he ran into permitting, weather issues and a late start date of March.

Eakins granted two extensions but said the school had to be done by noon Friday. The district told parents to make backup plans. Hundreds of workers swarmed this site to get the job done. Zirkelbach said many inspections were passed but the school does not yet have the certificate of occupancy needed to open. He said he’s confident the school will be in great shape by the end of next week.

Students should be in class in their new building the day after Labor Day.

Meanwhile, class will start Monday at Grace Family Church on Waters Avenue, where students have attended a camp since early this month.

Rrichard Berk  is with the investment group that owns the school buildings. He said he is confident this school will be a success.

“This will be a model school eventually,” Berk said. “It’s been a rough start, for everybody.”

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