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Our History


History of Our Location

John W. Houghton was a successful leather merchant on Broad Street in Augusta.  At his death in 1851, he bequeathed four thousand dollars and a plot of land to the City Council of Augusta for the purpose of building a school for “the poor children of Augusta.” The school was also to be open on Sundays for worship and prayer.

In 1853 the first Houghton School was opened. In the 1890’s it became the first public elementary school. The original structure was burned in the massive fire of downtown Augusta in 1916. The current school building was designed by prominent architect Lloyd Preacher, and erected for a cost of $65,000. From 1916 to 2000, thousands of children in Augusta were educated in the facility. The building was vacant until local businessman and philanthropist Clay Boardman purchased the historic property in 2005, adding a new roof, windows and otherwise bringing to a halt the decay inside the building. Heritage Academy purchased the building from Mr. Boardman and began a 190-day production schedule to completely renovate the first of two floors in the 50,000 square foot facility.

John Houghton cared deeply about his community and the children that are its future. He was a visionary. Heritage Academy is following in his steps to bring educational freedom to all children, especially children from low-income families. We believe it is fitting that the permanent home of our school should be this beautiful building that is historically significant to the city of Augusta. Not only have we returned the building to its original use as a school but also its original intent by its benefactor.

Heritage Academy's Timeline


A group of five Augusta citizens respond to the plight of children in the inner-city and begin planning a Christian school.


They organize as the Board of Directors of Heritage Academy. They research urban education, visit other schools and present to the community a vision for an inner city Christian school that is accessible, affordable and sustainable.


The school opens in the fellowship hall of a small church in East Augusta with 10 children in kindergarten. The strategic plan calls for adding a grade each year up to eighth grade.


Heritage Academy begins to look for a permanent location.


The school continues to grow and moves to another temporary location.


The historic Houghton School building in Olde Town is purchased and a capital campaign for 2.5 million dollars begins.


After a 190-day production schedule to renovate the first floor, Heritage Academy moves into its new home.


The school continues to grow and develops plans for renovating the second floor.


Heritage Academy celebrates its 10th year educating children. The school opens two sections of kindergarten for the first time.


With enrollment growing, 60% of the second floor is renovated and opened with five classrooms and administrative offices. Three sections of kindergarten are offered and half of the student body is in kindergarten, first and second grade.


Enrollment is at capacity with double sections of K, 1 and 2 this year. We have 170 students in grades K-6. Capital campaign begins to finish the building.


Enrollment is 190 with two sections of K-3rd Grade. "Open the Door" Capital Campaign begins with the goal of $1.5 million to finish the renovation of the second floor and provide an endowment for maintenance and preservation of the building.


We celebrated the completion of our second floor.


Student enrollment reached 230 students with 2 sections of K-4.

Received AdvancED accreditation.


The completion and utilization of our makerspace. 100th Anniversary Celebration Event for our building.


Heritage Academy is one of 22 nonprofits in the nation to win the True Inspiration Award from the Chick-fil-A Foundation.


Launch of the Early Workforce Development program. Heritage breaks ground on the Aquaponics Farm.

Through challenges, growth and change, Heritage Academy has remained faithful to the mission of making a Christ-centered education available to all children regardless of family income.