New build provides opportunities to collaborate with greater community
Stratford District Christian School’s new building was made possible in part due to a reciprocal agreement with the city that is beneficial for everyone, says principal David Straatsma.
He says they are the fifth school in the area to have a reciprocal agreement with the city.
The reciprocal offers time sharing opportunities between the school and city. The school purchased three acres of land, which wouldn’t be enough for a playground, but has the use of an additional five acres of city parkland bordering the elementary school.
During school hours the school has exclusive use of the parkland, which has soccer fields. Outside school hours the city has the use of the soccer fields, parking lot and gym. The school has the use of the city’s arenas, pools and tracks.
The land was affordable for the school because it smaller, but with the additional parkland and 20 acres of reforested land behind the school there is lots of outdoor space for the students.
The new building will open March 23 and is located in the City of Stratford, about 10 minutes from its current location in Sebringville. This location provides more opportunities to be an integral part of the community, says Straatsma.
The neighbourhood is pleased to welcome the school, he says. There was some re-working of an intersection that made it a safer road for everyone.
The new building neighbours a retirement home that the school already has a great relationship with, says Straatsma. Being neighbours will open more doors to continue building that relationship, he says.
The school is also excited for its new gymnasium, as it has been without one for 31 years.
“Our gym can be used after hours for many things as far as sports groups, anything from a voting booth, to a blood donor clinic … there’s a lot of opportunities to give back to the community,” says Straatsma.
Partnering with various community groups is in keeping with the school’s overall capital campaign theme, which is Building Community One Child at a Time.
Other community connections made through the building project include receiving cabinetry from Seaforth Public School, which the school has refinished.
Volunteers have come together and contributed hundreds of hours to help with the build.
“The greater community has been coming out to volunteer a lot of the time and effort to build the school, a lot of people from outside of the direct sending parents so that’s been great,” says Straatsma.
“We’ve been very blessed as far as how God has provided in so many ways throughout this, everything from the location to the benefits that have come or the financial affirmations through donations that really made it clear that this is the right thing to do,” he says.
To view photos of the new build and to learn more, visit the school’s website at www.sdcs.on.ca.