The nonprofit organization that operates University View Academy, an online charter school for Louisiana students in grades K-12, has purchased a 108-room hotel on Valley Creek Drive for $6 million with plans to turn the building into teaching space.
Foundation for Louisiana Students bought the Comfort Suites University at 3045 Valley Creek Drive in a deal that was filed Monday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. The seller was SRG Investment LLC of Baton Rouge.
Michael Marsh, communications director for University View, said the charter school needed more rooms for its teachers' online presentations. Enrollment will top 3,200 children in the upcoming school year, and University View will be able to add 240 students per year.
“The teachers are on top of each other,” Marsh said. The teachers host live online classroom sessions and it gets “very loud and noisy with no privacy.”
The cost of building more teaching space was “astronomical,” so buying the hotel was a perfect fit, he said. Because the rooms are all suites, the front portion will be turned into office space for the teachers. The beds and furniture that can’t be used for office or teaching space will be removed.
“Teachers will be able to decorate their learning space in any way they want,” Marsh said. They will also have their own bathroom.
The Comfort Suites closed Friday in advance of the sale. The plan is to put two teachers in each of the hotel’s 108 rooms. The teaching space will be ready by Aug. 19, when the new school year starts at University View.
The first floor of the hotel will be turned into administrative space.
University View has been on a land-buying spree over the past five years. With the purchase of the hotel, the school now has a four-building campus stretching from the Henderson Building at 4664 Jamestown Ave. to the former LABI offices at 3113 Valley Creek.
The school was founded in 2011 and was formerly known as the Louisiana Connections Academy.