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Posted February 22, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Ready to grow: Front Royal Christian Schools plan for move

By Kim Walter

After expanding to two campuses three years ago, Front Royal Christian Schools is now in the process of purchasing a new building to bring all of its students under one roof.

Bethel Christian School, located on North Lake Drive, currently houses preschool through fifth-grade students. The other campus, Front Royal Christian High School on Progress Drive, holds the remaining sixth through 12th-grade students.

Since opening the school in 2005 with 77 students, enrollment is now up to 150.

Roxanne Miller, head of admission development, said enrollment has increased by about 10 percent each year since expanding to the second building. Even with the steady increase, predictions were surpassed for enrollment at the beginning of this school year.

The school has entered into a contract to purchase a new, 13,400-square-foot building on Strasburg Road. The property sits on 6 acres, so the school could "grow outside" as well.

If all goes well with inspections and financing, the school could own the building by May. Renovations of the space would still need to happen before the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Miller said the space will allow all students to be in one place, and will allow for future growth -- both in student numbers and in terms of classroom space and offered programs.

"We offer a variety of extracurricular activities already, and the kids get a chance to participate in all the typical sports," she said. "But this move will bring a whole new life to the school."

Advantages of the move will be felt both from the student and administrator perspective, she added. Younger students often find themselves looking up to the older students, who take turns mentoring and leading those children.

"It'll be way easier to keep track of everyone, too," she said.

Front Royal Christian Schools offers a classically based, non-denominational Christian education and is the only school of its kind in Warren County. Miller said the school is special in its ability to maintain small teacher to student ratios, which helps in dealing with needs specific to each student.

The school also accepts children and students with special needs.

"Those students actually make up about 10 percent of our population, and we use a full-inclusion method with them," Miller said. "It's very unique for that to be offered at a private school. We've searched all around the area and even went into NOVA, and there aren't really any other small schools like us doing what we're doing."

The move comes at a perfect time, since 2012 marked a milestone for the school -- its first graduating class.

Miller said students went off to universities large and small, which was a "proud moment."

"We've added so many things for kids, like drama, student government, journalism club and heavy involvement in community service," she said. "This is just one more step to giving our students the best education and experience possible, all while spreading God's word."

According to Lorraine Hewitt, the school's director, funding for a down payment and skilled help to complete renovation is still needed. The building that the school aims to occupy is one where Hewitt began a school 13 years ago.

She posted a special message to students' parents on the Front Royal Christian Schools Facebook page.

"I am grateful that God has opened this door, but we still have work to do before we can walk through it," she wrote.

Those interested in more information may contact Front Royal Christian High School at 540-631-0033 or Bethel Christian School at 540-635-6799. For more information on the school, go to www.frontroyalchristianschools.com.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com

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