[caption id=”attachment_695” align=”aligncenter” width=”348”] The story of Guelph Community Christian School’s (GCCS) new building is also one about the changing face of education over the last five decades, and how school buildings from the 1960s often don’t suit anymore. The above space is one of a number of features of the renovated GCCS building that allow for the flexible, group and individualized instruction and support that the school is offering more and more.[/caption]
Newly settled into a renovated former public school, Guelph Community Christian School (GCCS) is on its way to realizing a new goal, showing its new neighbourhood and the
City of Guelph how Christian education can be a public benefit.
The school has reclaimed a derelict building, which is itself evidence that Christian education can bless the greater community, says principal Bob Moore.
GCCS acquired the building from the Upper Grand District School Board last year, undertook significant renovations and just this September moved its 200-plus student population into the 37,000-square-foot site.
Moore adds the space had originally been designated for high-rise residences.
With its new lush landscaping, and playground that can be used by children in the neighbourhood, GCCS is instead adding a natural beauty and recreation opportunities to the area.
Going forward, the school will continue to seek to bless the neighbourhood, says Moore. This could include opening its doors for use by others.
According to Moore, GCCS’s renovating of the former public school is an “amazing” story of volunteer commitment and God’s leading.
“What I sensed as we went through the project was that the Lord was providing the right person at the right time for the right project,” he says.
He describes the chairman of the board as one of these “right people;” bringing skills in management, relationships and financing made him ideal for moving the project forward.
A father who volunteered six days a week throughout the renovations is another such a “right person.” Families whose children graduated decades ago agreed to come back and chair various committees, and the former owner of a landscape business designed and co-ordinated the development of the playground.
And the list goes on.
Conservative estimates are that about 10,000 volunteer hours went into making the “new” school possible.
As a few other examples, it was all volunteers who undertook the school’s interior demolishing, hauling out 200 tonnes of scrap materials.
Volunteers planted the 300 trees, bushes, shrubs and perennials, spread mulch, laid half an acre of sod and watered the new and “most beautifully” landscaped site in Guelph.
Even grandfathers stopped by to do what they could, whether that was pushing a broom or cleaning mortar off bricks.
“Everybody sensed they could do something, and they’d do that,” says Moore.
“It really was the Lord sending the right people to the right place at the right time. That’s how it unfolded. It really was a story of God mobilizing his people.”
Looking forward, Moore says in addition to continuing to share with the greater community how Christian education can be a public blessing, he sees significant opportunity to nurture and grow the school’s past strength as a community committed to raising its children together.