The transformation of the abandoned Kmart building at 26655 E. Highland Ave. into REAL Journey Academy’s Entrepreneur High School is taking shape from the inside out.
The long-vacant building, empty since 2002, is being re-created into an 118,000-square foot, 28-classroom joint campus for REAL Journey Academy’s New Vision Middle School and its new Entrepreneur High School. It will be the only high school within Highland city limits, Entrepreneur High School Chief of Business Operations Lonnie Yancsurak told the Highland Area Chamber of Commerce during a recent luncheon.
The steel frames shaping the classrooms, a box theater for students to develop public speaking skills, a gym and indoor and outdoor storefronts for student-created popup stores were going up last week.
The charter school is designed to resemble a college with open space with large skylight in the center of campus and classrooms filled with the latest technology.
The new campus is scheduled to be completed July 1 with classes beginning on Aug. 6, according to Ray Culberson, hired as executive director in March.
Culberson comes from San Bernardino City Unified School District where he, as director of student services, spent the past 15 years helping the district raise its graduation rate from 50.2 percent to 89.3 percent.
According to Culberson, the new high school already has more than 50 percent of its enrollment goal for the first year and a marketing campaign to draw further enrollment was recently launched.
Several students are entering the school with businesses already forming, Culberson added.
The school plans to add one grade each year until it is a full ninth through 12th-grade high school.
The school will focus on developing students who are ready to launch and run a business straight out of high school.
According to Yancsurak, Culberson, with extensive background in both education and as a business owner, checked all the right boxes to lead the charter school focused on developing entrepreneurial skills.
“This is what’s needed the way the economy is going,” Yancsurak said of entrepreneur skills. “Back when I was in school we had vocational schools but that went away. I don’t know why but it became an all-college push, which is great, but why not have options for creating businesses or learning skills for other high paying jobs.”
“In San Bernardino there are a lot of great things but we have to have entrepreneur skills to work inside organizations and bring about the best new ideas,” said Culberson.
The school has chosen a motto: “You have a choice…Be a boss.” It’s about students taking responsibility and ownership of their own life by being the boss of their education.
Culberson says the first class will play an important roll in developing the school’s traditions as a mascot and school logo are still to be chosen.
For enrollment information on Entrepreneur High School, visit the welcome center at 26655 E. Highland Ave. or call (909) 327-2782.