Conway Christian Groundbreaking
Conway Christian School breaks ground on their new 28,000 SF High School Addition
Conway Christian School is preparing to break ground on a project to build a new two-story addition to its campus, school CEO and President Jason Carson told the Log Cabin in an interview last week. The $6.5 million project is funded through an ongoing capital campaign, Carson said, and will allow the private school to grow its enrollment and programs.
“[Conway Christian has] reached the point where we’re completely out of space,” Carson said. “We don’t have any extra classrooms, offices [or] anything.”
Currently serving 500 students across the campus’s Lower and Upper School, Carson said the new 30,000 square-feet facility will allow Conway Christian to add an additional 200 students and create separate dedicated spaces for pre-kindergarten and elementary, middle school and junior high and high school students.
“[The new facility will] address the needs Conway Christian has and allow us to continue to grow,” Carson said.
Those needs go beyond a desire to expand student enrollment. Carson said the campus’s gym, located in the Upper School, currently houses sports events, choir and band concerts and drama performances. Choir and band students have to share a trailer for practices and Conway Christian Athletics has a small weight room that can only hold a handful of students at a time. To increase the quality of those programs, Carson said, the school must expand.
Addressing those concerns, the new building will have an auditorium for drama and band and choir performances, as well as an expanded weight room and athletic offices, Carson said, in addition to the necessary classroom space to restructure the school’s academic model.
The current model allots two classrooms, or about 40 students, per elementary grade, Carson said. Moving the fifth and sixth grade into the new facility will open four classrooms in Conway Christian’s Lower School and allow them to add a third classroom, or about 15 students, to each grade in the Lower School.
While the private school does charge yearly tuition fees to its students, those fees fund Conway Christian’s day-to-day operations. To expand, Carson and the school’s leadership have embarked on a $6.5 million capital campaign that started in August 2019 when the school received a $2.5 million matching gift from a donor.
After a pause in fundraising at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, donations have continued and Conway Christian has raised $6 million, Carson said. With a goal of entirely funding the building project debt-free, the school has a little over a year to raise the remaining $500,000.
“If you’re a family in town that believes in Christian Education and you want to support what we’re trying to do, you can go online to [www.conway christianschool.org] and make a gift,” Carson said, noting that many of the school’s donors are parents and grandparents of current students, as well as alumni.
Construction on the new building is due to start with a ground-breaking ceremony in mid-July. Carson said Ray Nabholz’s NBMC, Inc. will complete the building by August 2022.
“Ray and his company are fantastic builders,” Carson said. “They built all the buildings that we have on campus.”
Carson chose another familiar firm, Sowell Architects, to design the new building.
“Sowell Architects have done the designs of all of our existing buildings,” Carson said. “[Emily Ferris] is doing a great job designing this new facility.”
Despite some concern that building delays and the complicated logistical task of moving practically every teacher on campus to a new classroom could make meeting the August 2022 opening date a challenge, Carson said he was optimistic about the school’s ability to finish its expansion in a little over a year.
“Our hope and goal is to finish [the new facility] and open [to students] in August 2022,” Carson said.
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