SLAM! sports charter school under construction in Tampa

- Reading, writing, arithmetic -- and sports? A new charter school being built in Tampa aims to add an athletics theme to all of the basic subjects, its founder and principal said Thursday.

Construction is well underway on SLAM! Tampa, which stands for Sports Leadership and Management, and  although the school won't be finished for several months, administrators a gearing up for an August  opening.

"We're super excited about being here in Tampa. This is a brand new concept," said Jim Griffin, the school's principal. "That whole concept is about taking those lessons, that are traditional lessons, but incorporating or integrating those sports programs so kids can stay hooked in the classroom and stay highly engaged."

The school is being built on Gunn Highway, next to the Citrus Park Mall.

SLAM! falls under the Hillsborough County School District's charter schools umbrella and ties sports into the regular state curriculum.

"You're still going to have the English, Math and Social Studies class, it's just going to be more fun," said Alex Tamargo, a founding principal who helped open SLAM!'s first school in Miami in 2013. "We don't deviate from the state curriculum. It's a Bright-Futures-based curriculum for scholarship opportunities for every student."

SLAM! also has schools in Palm Beach and near Las Vegas; Tampa will be its fourth city. One of the original founders is the musician Pitbull.

"He's really taken a liking to what we're doing. We're in his old neighborhood in Miami," Tamargo told FOX 13.

Tamargo said SLAM! Tampa will start off with grades 6 though 10 and an enrollment of up to 450 students. They hope to add the 11th and 12th grades by 2019 and eventually increase enrollment to as many as 1,500 students.

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