ONE Campus FAQs

To help make our ONE Campus transition as smooth as possible, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Please click on your question below. Still have questions? Contact us at 901-767-4494 or email the communications office.

Reasons and Benefits

Why is Harding unifying campuses?

Families want a one-stop shop once their children start lower school. We want to offer that option within a Christ-centered, co-educational, college-preparatory school in the heart of the city. Our facilities and personnel will maximize our students' spiritual, academic, and extracurricular experiences, and create efficiency that helps keep tuition within reach of more families. Harding's previous model of having multiple lower school locations throughout the city was an exceptional model in the 70s and 80s. Harding has had in excess of 10 locations within the past 65 years. During those years, that approach allowed for rapid growth and flexibility with facilities. However, with the proliferation of private schools throughout the Memphis area, specifically in eastern Shelby County, as well as expanded homeschool and public school options, the convenience of multiple locations is outweighed by the need to maximize the quality and breadth of programs and facilities offered at a single unified location. Unification also allows us to right-size our facilities for our student body and best position our school for future growth.

What are the benefits to becoming one campus (SK–12)?

Unification has many benefits. It allows families of lower, middle, and upper school students to enjoy a single location for classes, practices, and school events. It promotes a stronger identity of ONE school. The Cherry Road campus provides additional amenities for lower school students, including multiple gymnasiums, baseball, softball, soccer and football fields, a track, tennis courts, onsite tech support, unified technology infrastructure, a library, and more fine arts, athletic, and academic opportunities for our students. Being on one campus allows our students and faculty members to build deeper, long-term relationships. For the first time in many years, Harding will offer one campus designed to meet the needs of all school-aged children and their families. Unification is also more cost effective, which can help keep tuition within reach of more families.

What (if any) are the drawbacks of this change?

Harding's Cordova and White Station lower school locations are very special places. Many children and their families have wonderful memories of their times on these campuses. We understand that having one unified campus in East Memphis will not be as convenient for some of our families whose children currently attend the lower school in Cordova. It is our hope that the many benefits of a unified SK-12 school will outweigh that inconvenience.

Why are we not building an elementary school on our Lakeland property to boost enrollment?

Five years ago, Harding Academy renewed its commitment to remain in Memphis. Our Board determined that replicating and financing facilities in Lakeland that are already available on the Cherry Road campus was not a wise use of resources or in line with their strategic vision for the school. Rather, selling the Lakeland property and our property and facilities in Cordova will allow us to retire current debt and free up additional capital to further renovate and improve existing facilities and infrastructure on our Cherry Road campus for the benefit of all of our students in grades SK–12.

Is the school stable?

Yes. Unification of lower, middle, and upper schools on one campus is a strategic decision designed to ensure that Harding Academy maintains its tradition of stability and excellence in Memphis. Unifying our SK–12 students on one campus creates a more sustainable school structure for the future. (See "Why is Harding unifying campuses?" above.)

Little Harding

Why is Little Harding not a part of this unification?

Little Harding is a year-round program specifically designed to meet the needs of preschoolers age 18 months through 4 years old. The number of students in that program has grown 136% over the last two years. These figures indicate that we are meeting the needs of our littlest Lions and their families well in our current facilities at our current locations.

Where will Little Harding be located?

Little Harding will continue to operate on the Cordova and White Station campuses.

What will happen with Little Harding Cordova if the building is sold?

A sale of the Cordova campus may include both Cordova buildings. If it does, Harding anticipates leasing back the space Cordova Little Harding currently occupies so that the program can continue to grow in its current location. We also intend to continue leasing space from the Church of Christ at White Station so that Little Harding can continue to grow at the White Station campus as well.


Is there really room for everyone in that one building?

Yes. A feasibility study was conducted in the summer of 2017 to ascertain if all Harding Academy classes could be comfortably and appropriately located on the Cherry Road campus. It was determined that there is ample classroom, office, and multi-use space to accommodate all children from grades SK–12 on one campus and also allow for future enrollment growth of 40% in our lower school.

Where will the classes be located?

Lower school will be housed in the west wing, allowing them to have a secure and separate space on campus. Some spaces will be shared, but schedules will align so there is minimal crossover between lower, middle, and upper school students. Middle school will be located upstairs in the main hallway. As in the past, some middle school classes will be in other parts of the building (art, music, labs), but the bulk of core middle school classes will be on the second floor of the main hall. Upper school will be located along the downstairs main hallway, and on both floors in the east wing.

What facilities will lower school students have access to?

Lower school students will benefit from having access to all facilities at the Cherry Road campus. The garden, science labs, playing fields, library, baseball, softball, football and soccer fields, tennis courts, multiple gymnasiums, and significantly expanded food service (including breakfast and after-school service) are a few of the amenities that will be available to students in grades SK–5.

Where will my child play at recess? On cold/rainy days, will indoor play space always be available?

We will have a secure outdoor space for our lower school students complete with a multi-purpose field, sports courts, a walking loop, and multi-structure playground. In case of inclement weather, recess will take place in a gymnasium when possible. If a gymnasium is not available, another available indoor space will be used.

Will there be a lower school library and computer lab?

The lower school will have a dedicated space in the current middle and upper school library. The combined Cherry Road library is larger than either of the Cordova or White Station lower school libraries. Each class will visit the library at least twice a month. Lower school students will also have access to the west computer lab which will have more updated equipment and increased bandwidth over current lower school computer labs.

Where will lower school have chapel and programs?

Lower school students will continue to enjoy chapel twice a week. We are still exploring the best location to conduct lower school chapel, but are currently considering using the rear portion of the auditorium. Programs, lower school productions, etc. will take place in the 1,400 seat Emmons Auditorium which has greatly enhanced audio-visual capabilities and seating compared to our current lower school facilities.

What facility upgrades will be made to the Cherry Road Campus?

There is a multi-phase plan to upgrade the Cherry Road campus that includes an enclosed, secure playground, classroom upgrades, the creation of outdoor classrooms for lower, middle and upper school, new lower school drop-off and pick-up access and overhangs, the addition of a lower school lobby, offices, and a community gathering area at the front entrance of the lower school, a new entrance to the senior hallway and new energy efficient windows. A video of a 3D rendering of our dreams for the Cherry Road campus is in the "One School" announcement. All facility upgrades will be done as funding allows.

When will the renovation projects begin on the Cherry Road campus?

The first phase of renovations is in progress. Work crews spent weeks clearing the new playground area, leveling the ground, and prepping the site for our equipment and courts. To help to protect our facility from water damage, we have closed two doors and created a new exit from backstage. Our new iron fence will match our existing iron gates, and they will run from the corner of auditorium to corner of lower school entrance, providing a safe and secure play area. Crews have completed all of the underground work and are now pouring walkways and steps in the courtyard area. When that process is finished, they will begin installing playground equipment. Everything is on schedule to be completed by the start of school in August 2018. In our lower school hallway, new LED lighting is being installed, the HVAC system is being reconfigured, and the drop-ceilings are going in. The Blue Room and Room 23 are being reconfigured into a new lunchroom space for lower school. Everything is getting a fresh coat of paint, the offices have been updated, the workroom has been moved, and the new bathrooms are being installed. Lower school renovations will wrap up in early July. In the new middle school offices, metal stud walls have been installed, workers are running electrical circuits, and drywall will be hung soon. Our middle school classrooms and lockers are getting fresh paint thanks to teachers, staff, and volunteers. In the upper school, new carpet has been installed in the east computer lab, and new shades will be installed on all classrooms on the north side of building. Our horticulture program has been relocated to the senior courtyard. The library is being reworked to serve all ages. Lower school books and furniture have been moved in, and set-up will happen soon. Restrooms in the Sisson Gym have been renovated, the curbs are being painted outside, and the walls are being power washed. Additional phases will progress as funding allows.

What phases will the Cherry Road renovation projects involve?

The number of phases will depend on funds raised, and the timing of projects will be scheduled so that school operations involving students are not interrupted.

What are the plans for the Lower School Cordova building?

Harding plans to engage real estate professionals to market the Cordova campus.

What will happen with Little Harding Cordova if the building is sold?

A sale of the Cordova campus may include both Cordova buildings. If it does, Harding anticipates leasing back the space Cordova Little Harding currently occupies so that the program can continue to grow in its current location. We also intend to continue leasing space from the Church of Christ at White Station so that Little Harding can continue to grow at the White Station campus as well.

School-Day Details

What will the school times be?

Lower school will retain its current start and end times begining at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 3:15 p.m. Upper and middle school will begin at 8:00 a.m.and end at 3:00 p.m. Students may be dropped off no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and Lion Care/Ride Waiting will be offered at the Cherry Road campus until 6:00 p.m. for all students.

Will before and after school care programs continue? Where will they be housed?

Before and after-school care for lower school students will continue to be provided 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Classrooms will be used to house these programs. LEAP (after school enrichment programs) will also remain in place. Middle school Ride Waiting will be coordinated with lower school after-school care, providing more robust offerings for all after-care students on the Cherry Road campus. Ride Waiting pick-up time will be extended to 6:00 p.m.

Will lower school students still have special area classes such as Performing and Visual Arts, Spanish, Science Lab, Library, and PE?

Lower school students will continue to receive instruction in performing arts, visual arts, physical fitness, Spanish, library, and science lab. Unification of SK–12 on one campus will allow for a significantly improved specialty class schedule in the lower school with the addition of daily physical fitness/sports skills classes and additional performing arts and visual arts instruction each week.

Where will my child eat lunch, and will the food service remain the same?

Lower school students will eat lunch a new space created from the former Blue Room and a large storage area. Valley Food Services will continue to provide meals for all school-aged children.

What will the class sizes be in the lower school?

The lower school will maintain their current maximum teacher:student ratios of 1:18 in grades SK–2, and 1:22 in grades 3–5.

Who will be leading the new lower school at Cherry Road?

Betsy Kolznak will transition into the role of lower school principal. Christy Cobb will act as the assistant principal. Brenda Stewart will be Harding’s Care and Enrichment Coordinator.

Will the lower school academic program be changing?

The lower school will retain its current academic programming. Each year, we evaluate the curriculum and make adjustments to ensure that our students are receiving the best possible instruction. Some minor changes may occur as a result of this process, but no major changes will be made in the 2018–19 school year. There are no academic programming changes planned for upper and middle as a result of unification. These kinds of changes are considered and made in due course of time through periodic curriculum evaluation cycles.

Transportation and Parking

Will we have bus transportation from Cordova? What will the cost be?

In November, parents at the lower school campus in Cordova were surveyed to determine their interest in bus service. These results were used to structure the transportation plan for the 2018-19 school year.

The bus will hold 39 riders with a maximum of two riders per seat. All riders must use seat belts. Parents and riders understand unacceptable behavior or failure to follow bus driver instructions will result in loss of bus privileges. An adult monitor will be added if warranted by a large number of riders. The price of bus service is $750 one-way or $1,495 two-way. Parents may sign up for bus service during online enrollment or add/stop bus service during the school year at a prorated price. The bus will pick up students in Cordova at 7:00 a.m. and return them to the Cordova stop at 4:00 p.m. Lion Care/Ride Waiting will be offered at the Cherry Road campus until 6:00 p.m. Afternoon riders to Cordova who are not picked up within five minutes of arrival will stay on the bus and return to the main campus to join Lion Care/Ride Waiting. Normal drop-in charges will apply.

Will I be assured of parking and easy access to the lower school?

The Cherry Road campus has ample parking to allow lower school students and their families to access and visit the lower school on our unified campus. A detailed drop-off and pick-up plan will be shared before the school year begins.

Where will I park to walk my child into the school?

Most lower school parents drop off their children in the carline. If parents need to walk their children into the building, there will be a designated parking lot immediately to the east of the lower school entrance. This allows parents to safely walk their children in without crossing the car line. For larger events, additional parking is available up the hill south of the Harding School of Theology.


When and where will sport practices take place?

The athletics office will continue to organize and support competitive lower school sports teams. All lower school students will have physical education classes every day. Middle school sports practice will take place during an 80-minute block at the end of the day. While the school day will end after the block (and all students not on a team may leave), certain coaches may choose to practice an additional 30 minutes.

What will lower school sports programming look like?

The athletics office will continue to organize and support competitive lower school sports teams. All lower school students will have physical education classes every day. Students in Senior Kindergarten-Grade 5 will be invited to participate in Harding-only quarterly intramural tournaments where they can have fun playing a variety of sports with their classmates.


Will tuition change?

Tuition changes every year in response to inflation and school educational needs. However, we do not anticipate any tuition or fee increases as a direct result of unification.

What about the sibling discount?

We're excited to announce that the sibling discount has been extended to families who have children in Little Harding and Senior Kindergarten–Grade 12. This will be a great benefit for families with multiple children in both programs.


How will renovations to the Cherry Road campus be funded?

Funding is anticipated primarily through designated gifts to specific capital projects, and the sale of Lakeland and Cordova properties which will retire current debt and free up additional capital.

Will there be a place for our names to be displayed if giving a certain amount?

Yes, these opportunities will be communicated as part of a larger fundraising strategy.


What security measures will be employed to keep my child safe on the Cherry Road campus?

Student safety is very important. The lower school wing will have secure exterior doors, a fenced playground, and a dedicated intercom system. All guests to the lower school will be required to enter though the lower school lobby to sign in and obtain a visitor's pass. Middle and upper school students will not be allowed to enter the lower school wing without appropriate supervision. The main entrance for the upper and middle school will have a new video buzzer system to further secure access to the building during the school day.

Will the little kids be mingling with the big kids?

The lower school will be housed in its own wing. This will allow children in grades SK–5 to enjoy a secure space with children of similar ages. However, one of the great things about having a unified campus is the ability to plan cross-grade-level experiences. Programs like Reading Buddies, dramatic productions, class presentations, all-school chapels, service projects, and field days will be enriched by the participation of older student mentors. In addition, the ability of our lower, middle and upper school faculty and staff to coordinate with and support each other will benefit all our students. All cross-grade-level interactions will be intentional and well-supervised.