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Grace Academy dedicates new facility

February 05, 2001

Grace Academy dedicates new facility



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Grace Academy dedicates new buildingGrace Academy's new campus was dedicated before more than 500 teachers, students and parents during a ceremony in the school's gymnasium Sunday.

"The children are excited about coming to school. They enjoy being in the new building," said Administrator Dennis Hoffman.

Classes for the schools' more than 280 students started on Jan. 10.

"We're excited to see the kid's faces," he said.

Located at 530 N. Locust St. for around 20 years, the Christian-based private school moved to a 35-acre site on Cearfoss Pike this year to accommodate increasing enrollment.

The school paid $225,000 for the property and $2 million for the new construction, he said.

The new 47,000-square-foot building has 21 classrooms, a gym, a science room, computer lab and rooms for art, music and weight lifting, said Hoffman.

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The property also has room for several athletic fields which is convenient, said Grace Academy board member and parent Jack Hill.

"No more renting or borrowing fields or gyms," he said.

Last year this time, the site still resembled a farmer's field, said building committee chairman Lynn Rushing.

"It was a major undertaking," he said.

Rushing said the project wasn't easy and the support of many "prayer warriors," helped make it a success.

"We had lots of hurdles to cross," he said.

He said the first hurdle was finding a buyer for the aging school building on North Locust Street.

Just weeks after it was listed for sale, the school was sold to Faith, Hope and Charity Inc., for a day-care center.

Grace Academy was established in 1976 by Mary Michael at the Downsville Ruritan Club Building with only seven students.

In its early years, the school's enrollment doubled annually, prompting a move to the Hagerstown Bible Church and then to the North Locust Street location, he said.

Grace Academy's student body includes the full-day kindergarten students through the seniors approaching graduation in June 2001.

Students are from Washington County, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, he said.

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