‘It’s been a real walk of faith for the whole community:’ principal
Construction of a new Stratford District Christian School (SDCS) facility is underway and progressing well, according to principal David Straatsma and board chair Chris Otten.
The new facility is slated to open just after March break, 2009.
Straatsma says the project has been “a real walk of faith for the whole community.”
“A project like this is a huge undertaking,” he points out, but there has been a trust on the part of school membership that it is God’s plan and that He is helping to make it happen.
“It’s been amazing to see how He provided as we needed,” says Straatsma.
The principal and Otten say the support the school society members have exhibited for the project has been noteworthy, both in terms of financial resources and volunteer time.
Volunteers have come together and contributed hundreds of hours to framing the exterior walls and building and shingling the roof. They continue to provide support in other areas.
While fundraising continues, the capital campaign has also been a success to date. The school’s membership has been able to raise more than a million dollars with plans to involve the larger community for the remainder.
The project was planned for completion in three phases.
Phase one entails the construction of the facility to accommodate current student numbers, phase two the building of a gymnasium, and phase three will be the addition of classrooms to serve future growth projections.
Originally the gym was to be completed at a later date but it came to light that it was more financially prudent to include it in the first building phase.
Otten says when the membership was approached about this decision change they were in full support.
“We fundraised almost the entire amount (for the gym) within three weeks time,” he notes.
The new facility is located in the City of Stratford, about ten minutes from its current location outside city limits.
The location provides more visibility for the school as well as brings it closer to the Stratford community in general. The vision is for SDCS to become a more integral part of the Stratford community and develop partnerships with various organization, says Straatsma.
One of these organizations, a large retirement residence, will be next-door neighbour to the school. Plans are underway for students to regularly visit the people living at the residence and form relationships with them.
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.
“It’s a challenging project but it’s been very rewarding too,” says Otten in conclusion. “We’re entering a new era with our society by changing our location and what we can offer, so we’re excited about that.”