Community Christian School has launched a campaign to raise $400,000 to purchase a building of its own.
An offer from CCS has already been accepted to purchase the former Holy Rosary Parish building at 2406 9 1/2 Ave. S. The funds will go toward purchasing the building, most recently owned by Youth Shelter Care, and some general repairs.
The campaign is the culmination of years of work on the part of the school and its board, according to Margaret Shields, CCS dead of students.
"We've done a lot of preliminary work. The school board looked at the building carefully. We felt like this is where God wants us to be," Shields said. "And so we are getting this capital campaign in place and taking off so we can raise the money we need to move into this facility."
CCS has always intended to find its own location, Shields said.
"It's always been a part of the plan," she said. "(First Evangelical Free Church) has parented and guided the school but it was always intended to be a community school, not a free church school. And so if we are in a building of our own it will help the people of the community to see we are a community school."
The perception that the school only serves free church students is not accurate, according to Doug Spencer, CCS school board chairman.
"Ten percent of our enrollment are from this church. There are 18 churches represented in our enrollment, or from other places in our community," he said.
The campaign, which will take place through April, has already had some success, Spencer said, but still has a way to go.
"We've had a really good response so far. We're 55 percent of the way there, about $240,000 at the moment," he said.
The $400,000 covers the ability to buy the building so the school can operate debt-free within four years, which is a mortgage obligation. It also covers $40,000 in improvements needed before the building can open as a school.
The growth the school is expecting from the move will help with its operating expenses.
"The church has always provided the insurance, the maintenance, so we're going to start paying that on our own. That's about $40,000 a year," Spencer said. "And if we go to where we think we can grow, adding 25 students over the next few years, we'll be able to be truly independent."
Spencer is optimistic that CCS can raise the funds.
"More importantly," he said, "our families and the folks who know about the school are really excited. They've been asking the board to do this for a long time. And it's happening, and they're onboard."
Shields, too, is excited about the move.
"It's going to be just a really wonderful fit for Community Christian School," she said. "The five classrooms will fit well for us, and the teachers were excited to see where their rooms might be. When school's over this year, our plan is to box things up and get ready to move."
According to Shields, CCS expects to move into the new building immediately after the end of the school year in June.
To donate to Community Christian School or to make a pledge, contact CCS at (515) 573-3011.