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Christian school envisions new building
April 07, 2011 Jerry Purvis    Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen

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Patrons and friends of Community Christian School have begun what they call a “long faith journey” to build a new school in Gering.

Principal Chris Geary said the first step is to acquire the land for the school. After considering nine parcels of land, the school board identified a 35-acre tract on the southeast corner of Five Rocks and Old Oregon Trail, across from Central Church of Christ. The decision to offer a purchase option followed 18 months of “careful consideration, planning and prayer” by the school’s board of education.

The land is currently owned by Harrison and Sally Warren. It has been owned by his extended family since 1916.

“This property fits both the board’s and the landowner’s vision for a Christian school in the North Platte Valley,” Geary said. “We’re especially grateful for the willingness and cooperation we’ve enjoyed from the Warrens. They’ve been very supportive and encouraging throughout this entire process.”

Community Christian’s foundation has already paid the Warrens a $25,000 option for the land. The $300,000 total price must be raised by Dec. 31, 2012.

Last December, the school’s six board members committed themselves to a three-year plan to raise $61,800 toward the land purchase. They are now asking the same commitment from the families, churches and communities served by the school, as well as others who support the value of Christian education in the Valley.

Geary said the new school was designed to be completed in phases. The first building phase would be a community center, which would include a gym. The gym could double as an auditorium, instrumental and vocal music rooms, and locker rooms.

The second building phase would include a child care center and elementary school. And the final phase would add high school classrooms. A long-term vision also includes a dormitory for students who live outside the area. The ultimate value of the facility is in the $25 million range.

“It’s important to emphasize the goal of the board is to proceed carefully in small, precise steps to accomplish this vision,” Geary said. “It’s the prayer and intent of the board to open the new facilities to all families in the North Platte Valley and allow them the benefits of use, beginning with the proposed community center and child care center.”

The privately-funded, inter-denominational Community Christian School opened in 1988 in the old Bryant Elementary School building in Scottsbluff, offering preschool through eighth grade.

Enrollment that first year was 26 students. Since then, the school has graduated more than 300 students. There are 221 current students and the school has seen a 16 percent increase in enrollment since 2006.

However, the Bryant building, built in the mid-1920s, has become antiquated. Geary said that problems experienced with the Lincoln school building in Gering are the same ones he deals with, including plumbing, electrical, and an overall lack of space. The building has also been squeezed into limited space due to neighborhood growth over the past 80-plus years.

“The school’s mission is to encourage students to learn to apply God’s truth while promoting academic excellence in a Christian environment,” he said. “Our goal is to provide the North Platte Valley with an excellent educational alternative which intentionally teaches and emphasizes the truth of God’s Word.”
State Senator John Harms, who has two grandchildren enrolled in Community Christian, congratulated Geary on the project.

“I know there are a lot of individuals who would support this project,” Harms said. “There are many parents and grandparents who would like to see their children and grandchildren in a Christian school from K-12.”

A fund has been established at the school to receive tax-deductible contributions. More information is available by calling the school at 632-2230.
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