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Officials Celebrate Start of Construction For New Charter School in Camden

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(Officials pose with ceremonial shovels in a Cooper Medical School facility.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(Officials pose with ceremonial shovels in a Cooper Medical School facility. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey governor Chris Christie visited Camden, NJ today to help officials break ground for a charter school on a site where a public school once stood.

The politicians and business leaders were there to celebrate the start of construction for the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square.

The campus is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015 for children living in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods of Camden.    The $45-million, public-private project is the result of state legislation known as the “Urban Hope Act.”

Supporters say he academy will feature a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, all the high-tech bells and whistles you can imagine, a longer school day, and a longer school year.

And Governor Christie says it’s about time.

“This stuff isn’t easy to do,” the governor said today.  “But neither should it be easy for us to continue to ignore these children.  Let’s be honest — that’s what we have done.  And today is a symbol of the beginning of the end of that conduct.”

Speaking of symbols, the academy will be on the site of the former Lanning School, which was closed and torn down 12 years ago due to structural damage.

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