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While Wilmington U picks the ‘burbs, Freire Charter School wants to be downtown

A tale of two planned expansions.

Freire Charter School's robotics team, the RoboDragons. (Photo courtesy of Freire Charter School)

In April, Freire Charter School — which runs a middle school and high school in Center City Philadelphia, and hopes to open Tech Freire next year — will open a Wilmington campus to students next fall.
The News Journal recently reported that the charter school will call the former home of the local Blue Cross Blue Shield — a six-story downtown building at 201 W. 14th St. — its newest site.
The school, The News Journal reports, can accommodate 336 9th and 10th grade students its first year, and an additional 112 juniors its second year, and another 112 seniors the following year.
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In Philadelphia, Freire’s next move is to open a school where technology and entrepreneurship are paramount, our sister site Technical.ly Philly first reported. Freire is applying to the School District of Philadelphia — which is accepting applications for new charter schools for the first time in seven years — to open next fall.
If the application is accepted and the school opens, students at this school will learn math and computer programing.

What could this mean for Wilmington?

The News Journal reported that Bill Porter — who would run the Wilmington campus — chose to start downtown to get students involved in Wilmington’s cultural venues.
But some residents are concerned about what impact the arrival and departure of staff and students will have on the neighborhood. Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association president Ben Cohen is planning to attend upcoming meetings focused on school logistics about parking and drop-offs.
Pair this against recent news of Wilmington University’s plans to build a new 41-acre campus at Concord Pike and Naamans Road, 15 minutes outside of downtown Wilmington.
The move was billed as a chance to make the commute easier for students, as nearly half of the university’s students live in North Wilmington.
But some urbanists are crying foul, saying this is a major missed opportunity for the city of Wilmington.

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Companies: Wilmington University
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