New Christian education complex planned between Merced and Atwater

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comJune 19, 2014 

A new partnership will see a future Christian education complex between Merced and Atwater.

Stone Ridge Christian High School and Providence Christian School have announced plans to build a high school, junior high and eventually an elementary school on 26 acres of land located along Santa Fe Drive near Dan Ward Road. The high school will come first.

The $15 million project has already begun with the acquisition of land and architectural services.

Dr. Von Goodin, a local dentist and board chairman, said, “Both Stone Ridge Christian High and Providence Christian School share many of the same short- and long-term visions with the immediate need to relocate and create a permanent, modern campus that provides excellent, comprehensive, Christ-centered education. It makes sense for us to work together to create a campus where both schools can continue to grow and thrive.”

“Stone Ridge Christian High School has been looking for land to expand for over 11 years,” according to Kay McKee, administrative assistant for Stone Ridge Christian High School. “The timing was never right. For some reason it worked out this time. The partnership is perfect to ensure seamless quality of education.”

Stone Ridge Christian is expecting 104 students for the upcoming school year.

Greg Hooker, a Providence Christian School board member and a member of the building committee, said plans are in the preliminary design phase and total dollar amounts are unknown at this point.

Site plans should be completed at the end of August to be submitted to Merced County building and planning officials for approval. At that point there will be a clearer idea of the scope of the project, depending upon permit requirements, according to Hooker.

Building new campuses will be a multiphase project, Hooker said. All costs for building new campuses will be paid through private donations and supporters hope long-term financing will not be required.

Hooker expects staff members from both schools to be working together at the new educational site.

Providence Christian School was built on the grounds of Yosemite Church on East Yosemite Avenue with a five-year lease.

Now that the school has been on the premises for two years, Randy Postmus, Providence Christian School principal, said, “This is a great opportunity to build a permanent facility to grow. This partnership will improve our ministry to the community and better serve Merced and outlying communities.”

Providence Christian School serves more than 200 students from preschool through eighth grade.

The two boards have agreed to pursue merging under the San Joaquin Valley Christian School Association umbrella to oversee the building plan and future operation of the schools.

The plans are to immediately develop the high school and junior high campuses with an elementary campus to follow.

According to Goodin, “The new SJVCSA entity will be able to leverage the strengths of each school’s leadership and base of support, while maintaining the names, logos, unique cultures and flavors, principals and staff of each individual school.”

Groundbreaking of the project is planned for this year.

Sun-Star staff writer Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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