CCS ‘looking forward in faith’ to renovation project

Need to know
What: Looking Forward in Faith event
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 19
Where: Central Christian School Performing Arts Center, 3970 Kidron Road, Kidron
Why: To pray for the school and to learn about Central’s comprehensive capital campaign that focuses on supporting student learning and safety. The plan includes the renovation of the school building and parking lot and also a strategy for building up the Reserve Fund for long term sustainability.
For more info: https://www.ccscomets.org/support/

BY CHRISTINA McCUNE
DGKN managing editor

KIDRON  When students return from summer break for a new school year next fall, Central Christian students and staff can expect to be welcomed by a renovated entrance, and other additions and improvements to the 60-year-old school building.

A $3.9 million comprehensive capital campaign is underway for a renovation project.

Last year, renovations kicked off thanks to donations and grants with upgrades to both gyms, and work on a weight room and MakerSpace. The next progression, which school officials hope to complete this summer, entails renovating the oldest part of the building, including replacing single-pane windows, new heating and cooling, and adding a multi-purpose area for the middle school with office space. The parking lot will be reconfigured by increasing parking spots, and a new drop-off point will be safer so that students don’t have to dodge vehicles.

The final progression — which may be done at the same time as the second progression — includes restrooms at the Performing Arts Center, two new classrooms and reconfiguration of offices.

Summer months when school is not in session is the small window for construction, so the project is on the fast track to raise funds, explained Terry Shue, Central’s development director. It helps that everyone who has learned about the project so far seems to be on board, he said. As of last month, $1.2 million had been raised for the project.

Passion for the school and its motto “To know Christ and to make him known” is evident when speaking with school officials. Both Shue and Superintendent Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi are eager to share about the work that goes on every day at the school, and they say the renovations serve as a tool to continue to fulfill the school’s vision of growing Christian leaders and preparing them to make a difference in the world.

A time for prayer for the school and to learn more about the renovation project has been set for 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the school’s Performing Arts Center. The event is open to the community.

CAREFUL PROCESS

“We have a steep task in front of us — we don’t minimize that — but we believe it’s a good plan after spending 10 years talking about it, last year listening and planning. When we put this in front of people, not once have I heard ‘you don’t need to do that,’” Shue said.

For the past 10 years or so, renovations have been a topic of discussion among those in the school community, Zimmerly Jantzi said.

In Fall 2017, the school began to work on a strategic planning process, she said. By August of last year, the idea to make the capital improvements came from the strategic plan through community surveys, talking with parents, faculty and staff, and listening sessions with high school seniors.

The board’s renovation committee worked with Weaver Commercial Contractors, and the first step was to discuss the school’s guiding principles, which were to be simple, to enhance student learning and safety, and to be energy efficient.

The $3.9 million includes everything from construction and furniture to a necessary sprinkler system to ensuring sustainability.

School officials have said so far they have heard the most excitement around additional spaces and better lighting in the parking lot, as well as restrooms at the Performing Arts Center.

People passing by along Kidron Road, or visitors who attend games or community events, may notice a new entrance, a larger and differently configured parking lot, and improved lighting.

The plan includes finishing air conditioning in the newer 1990s addition to the school.

The renovations will not rely on funds from tuition. Instead, the project will be made possible by donations and charitable gifts.

“It’s a big project, but we have spoken with many generous donors who say it’s a good plan and the time is right,” Shue said. “So we’re working to get the message out and inspire those generous donors to help make that happen.”

After these renovations are complete, as the student body continues to grow, future upgrades to the school may include a new kitchen and expanded cafeteria.

FUTURE LEADERS

Since its first graduating class in 1962, Central Christian has been focused on turning out Christian leaders and offering unique opportunities to students.

This year, Central Christian has about 300 students from preschool through 12th grade.

Central Christian may be known for being a small parochial school in the country, Shue noted, but this little school has a percentage of international students and offers unique learning experiences families may not find at any other schools. The school owns 65 acres with wood and trails, and students are able to take advantage of that for outdoor learning experiences. Shue said he accompanied students on their senior trip to an area in Pittsburgh, where they were able to work with homeless people and learn about the complexities of urban life.

According to Central’s website, all families who seek a Christ-centered education for their children are welcome. The student body represents 18 denominations from over 68 congregations. Students come from 18 Ohio school districts as well as 16 international students from seven different countries, the website states.

The school offers chapel, academics, athletics with purpose, fine arts, opportunities for students of different grades to work together, faith formation and service opportunities.

Zimmerly Jantzi said many alumni have gone on to do work that changes lives and makes an impact in the world and they reference their experience at Central Christian.

Looking at lengthy lists of volunteers and donors, Shue said many people make the school possible.

“It comes back to why we’re here,” Shue said. “It’s to grow Christian leaders who go out and do amazing stuff in our world.”

For more information about the project and how to donate, Shue may be contacted at [email protected].

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