Centre will provide a meeting place and resources for members
The fundraising campaign for the new Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) CAM (Community Access Multimedia) Centre is underway and it is expected its doors will open fall 2010.
The OACS is moving because the office it currently leases was sold to a development company. The organization is purchasing a nearby site in Ancaster that has two functional buildings on the property. The property is being purchased this spring.
One building will be used for administrative purposes, similar to the existing office, and the other is currently a storage facility that will be renovated into the CAM Centre.
The CAM Centre will be renovated in 2010 and hopefully open that fall.
The entire property is being purchased for less than $1 million. With renovations and equipment, the total cost is estimated to be $1.5 million. The OACS fundraising campaign is for the CAM Centre only, which is estimated to cost $800,000.
So far approximately $415,000 has been raised. This is less than hoped for but OACS director of development Larry Lutgendorff says that is attributable to the economic downturn.
“Whenever I make a presentation on the CAM Centre everybody loves the idea,” says Lutgendorff.
As part of the CAM Centre project the OACS will be moving its curriculum materials and manuals online. Members will have direct and priority access to the materials. Lutgendorff notes that literature advises to be competitive on a global scale, and having the material accessible will open its distribution and possibly draw in new members.
“We know that there are people out there that are very interested, we have a number of schools from other organizations here in Ontario as well as across the western provinces that are interested in our material and we are also looking at more co-operation in the production of curriculum units with Christian Schools International,” he says.
In addition to the online library of materials there are plans to put together a wiki — an online encyclopaedia for curriculum units that teachers and others who have expertise can make additions and changes to as they are updated.
Once that material is at its critical mass it will be taken from the wiki into the CAM Centre.
“The CAM Centre is a place where all of those new ideas would be incorporated into the curriculum unit, the curriculum unit would then be professionalized and standardized so that it meets the OACS standards and also the government of Ontario education standards,” says Lutgendorff.
Once the curriculum unit is done it will then be ready to go back into the online library.
The CAM Centre will also be a place members can access resources that they may not currently have at their disposal.
For example, in the past there has been demand for audio visual material to go with the curriculum units but there was no technical support. The CAM Centre will provide the production equipment so curriculum units can be made with more user-friendly materials.
The vision for the centre is it will be a community piece of property that OACS members will have access to and use to build Christian education in Ontario, says Lutgendorff.
Currently, when the OACS runs curriculum days and meetings they have to find a place outside their current facility.
“We are looking forward to that change, that will be a significant improvement in the service we provide to our members,” says Lutgendorff.
Donations to the building campaign go through the Ontario Association of Christian Schools Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the OACS.