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Charter school to host social

Families of the 1,180 students expected to attend York Preparatory Academy, the county's first K-12 charter school open to any student in South Carolina, will have a chance to mingle this weekend and meet several of their children's teachers.

The school's founders have organized a "meet and greet" starting at 4 p.m. today at the former Trinity Christian School campus, York Prep's temporary home until its permanent campus is built. Organizers say bring lawn chairs, food and games for a "picnic-style atmosphere."

"It's going to be a really big social," said York Prep spokeswoman Heather White.

Anyone is welcome, White said, not just people who plan to send children to the school.

Applications for the public charter school's 62 open jobs have been streaming in since the first of the year. The 19 faculty members hired so far will be there this evening to introduce themselves and chat with families.

The school is negotiating contracts with other educators, founder Craig Craze said.

During the gathering, the school also will be accepting donations of books to stock its library. Organizers ask that anyone who can bring new or gently used books or money to buy books.

Founders and families plan to spend the summer preparing the campus for the first day of school in August. They expect to be at Trinity, a private school that closed last year due to low enrollment, for just a year.

York Prep organizers originally had planned to build a temporary campus in The Gates, an unbuilt subdivision off Eastview Road near Rock Hill. But that idea was scrapped earlier this year when a financing deal to pay for construction fell through.

Craze said he struck a new deal with G.M. Hock Construction, a development company that has built a charter school in Durham, to build a permanent campus in The Gates. He expects it to be built in time for the 2011-12 school year.

Recently, Rock Hill's city planning commission gave York Prep the go-ahead to begin renovating the Trinity campus, built for 400 students, to accommodate nearly three times as many.

Organizers and volunteers have been moving furniture and sprucing up the place. They plan to bring make several renovations and bring in mobile classrooms.

"A lot of the parents are excited," White said. With today's gathering "we're pushing forward with the momentum."