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Grace Academy breaks ground on $2 million building

June 17, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

CEARFOSS - Grace Academy student Dani Ward, 13, summed up her future school building in one word - air-conditioning.

The private Christian school broke ground Saturday on a new 46,000-square-foot school northwest of Hagerstown.

About 270 students, grades kindergarten through 12th grade, are expected to move in January from the school's 17-year home on North Locust Street.

At the current school, known as the former Broadway School in Hagerstown, only the fourth- fifth- and sixth-graders have air-conditioning.

The $2 million building will be able to offer more than just cool classrooms, said Administrator Dennis Hoffman.

It will have more classroom space, computer labs and its very own gym. The school now has to rent gym space at churches and other schools, he said.

"We're all excited. Everyone, all the staff and the teachers and students, are talking about next year in the new building," he said.

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The school is starting an ambitious private fund-raising campaign to meet its January goal.

"We serve a great God and He can do great things," said Rhonda Boward, president of the school's Parent Teacher Fellowship, equivalent to a PTA.

The school is hoping to draw on donations from area churches and individuals. Students at the school belong to 60 churches in the Tri-State area.

The school wants to keep its tuition reasonable. Tuition didn't increase more than usual because of the building project, said board member Jeff Ward, Dani's father.

Boward said her daughter, Emily, just finished her first year at the school, fifth grade.

"I've seen her blossom in her spiritual life," Boward said.

Grace Academy was founded nearly 30 years ago by the late Mary Michael, a retired Washington County teacher who started the school in her basement.

The Locust Street building might be purchased by a local church interested in running a day-care center there, Hoffman said.

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