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Faith Christian Academy readies for growth

September 22, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Faith Christian Academy is shopping around for a site to build a larger school and sports facilities of its own, the school's administrator said Monday.

After 15 years at its current home off W.Va. 45 between Martinsburg and Shepherdstown, W.Va., the school needs to expand to accommodate growth in the lower grades and foster it in the upper grades, said Administrator Eric Kerns.

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The nondenominational Christian school - which started in 1983 in the basement of Pilgrim Presbyterian Church in Martinsburg - has been growing steadily and now has 245 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade, Kerns said.

The school underwent a major expansion in 1989 and added modular buildings for more space in 1992, he said.

Now there's no more room on the current five acres and no adjacent land available, he said.

Most of the elementary classes are full, Kerns said.

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It's hard to entice students to stay once they get to the upper grades without sports facilities, he said.

For the past nine years the school has been using Berkeley County's sports facilities, he said.

"We've obviously outgrown our space," said Kerns, who said he has watched the student body grow from 170 to 245 students in the 10 years he has worked at the school.

The plan is to find 20 to 25 acres, preferably in Berkeley County, and build a school to accommodate 500 students initially and as many as 700 or even 800 students eventually, Kerns said.

The new school would have more parking, a soccer field, a baseball/softball field and a multipurpose building with a gymnasium, he said.

The ideal spot for the new school would be somewhere between Martinsburg and Inwood, W.Va., with easy access to Interstate 81, Kerns said.

School officials are open to other sites if someone is willing to donate the land, which is what happened with the current school site, he said.

The new school complex hasn't been designed yet, and there's not even a ballpark figure on how much it will cost, Kerns said.

"It's all a vision right now," he said.

The hope is to acquire the land by June 1999 then put the current property up for sale, Kerns said.

Work on the new school won't begin until there's a sale contract, he said.

The academy's board of directors will hold a banquet Saturday at the 167th Air National Guard dining facility to share plans for the school's future.

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