Monday, July 02, 2001
Christian school is multiplying
Expansion allows for more pupils
By Sue Kiesewetter
MIDDLETOWN The 30-year-old Middletown Christian School will begin a three-phase construction project July 9 that will allow the school to more than double its enrollment over several years.
Located on the grounds of Grace Baptist Church on Union Road, the school now shares space with the church. Each Friday during the school year, maintenance workers put away classroom materials and set up for Sunday school. On Sunday evenings the process is reversed.
We're completely out of room, said the Rev. Roger Green, senior pastor of Grace Baptist. We're in desperate need of a new school.
The school is near the site where the relocated Bishop Fenwick High School will be built, and also close to the site Middletown Regional Hospital plans to build on, with easy access to Interstate 75.
Since the Rev. Mr. Green arrived 11 years ago, enrollment has grown from 260 children in grades kindergarten to 12 to 425 today.
There are also 140 students enrolled in a preschool/day-care program housed in the year-old Ethel Sears Preschool Building, the first project of a 2-year-old building committee headed by Dr. Gary Cobb.
We think it's been a well-thought-out and planned process, said Dr. Cobb, whose four children are enrolled in the school. Parents want choices. This is another choice.
The basic structure for the 87,666-square-foot building is a 64,000-square-foot metal structure built in 1985 that has no plumbing or electricity and has been used mostly for storage, Dr. Cobb said.
The first phase, estimated to cost $5.6 million, will include 10 classrooms for grades kindergarten through four, a cafeteria, offices, library and computer lab. It should be ready for use by August 2002, said Mark Spradling, acting principal.
The second phase, estimated to cost $600,000, includes 10 classrooms on the second floor for grades five through 12, a computer lab and library.
Construction of a music room and gymnasium/locker area makes up the final phase of the project and is estimated to cost $600,000, Mr. Spradling said.
Also planned for the site are athletic fields and playground equipment. Bus and car traffic will be separated.
The first phase will give us breathing room and allow us to expand, Mr. Spradling said.
The Rev. Mr. Green estimated the school will grow by 5 to 10 percent each year.
When construction is finished, the school will accommodate 950 to 1,000 students. It draws mostly from Butler and Warren counties, north of the I-275 loop in Hamilton County, and southern Montgomery County.
A foundation started last year has raised $2.6 million in cash and pledges, Mr. Spradling said.
A loan from First National Bank of Southwestern Ohio will finance the rest.
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