Craig Richardson, 8, drives a nail into wooden beams at Immanuel Christian School on Friday while his father, Chad Richardson, left, and head contractor and designer, James Inabinet, stand by to supervise. Craig is the son of Chad and Victoria Richardson from Caledonia. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
April 26, 2014 9:59:30 PM
Immanuel Christian School is asking for the community's input in selecting a new name.
The school's transition away from Immanuel Baptist Church and into its own entity was finalized Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Immanuel Church asked school board members to change the school's name.
School board member Billy Thomas said the name change is an opportunity for a fresh start.
"I'm probably more excited right now than I've ever been," Thomas said. "I know we have the chance right now for a new direction. We've already been talking about what we're going to do in 20 or 30 years. I'm not going to be around in 20 or 30 years but the school will be, so we want to try to plan that vision."
Thomas encouraged parents, alumni and members of the community to offer suggestions.
"That's the big thing for us," he said. "We're not running this place. We're just trying to help it so we want to give that choice to the parents and the students of what the name is going to be."
Suggestions can be emailed to myvoice@Immanuelschool.net. The new name will be announced at Tuesday night's board meeting.
In the three weeks since the school first began to separate from the church, new school board members have worked to build new athletic facilities and an outdoor science lab. A new soccer field and walking track will be constructed in the front of the school. Thomas said he hopes students will begin playing on the yet to be constructed field as early as July. The lighted track will be open to the public.
In the back of the school near the baseball fields, groundwork is beginning for a new athletic facility that will house girls and boys weight rooms, locker rooms and two indoor batting cages. That facility will be ready by fall, Thomas said.
The soccer field and the new athletic facility are both being constructed through donations.
The outdoor science lab is currently being constructed in a grassy area between the classrooms and the gym. The lab, which was obtained through grant money, will be open by the start of the new school year.
Thomas said it is the board's hope that the school grows from their current enrollment of approximately 250 students. With that in mind, the school is offering new athletic and academic opportunities. The school has a girl's soccer team but does not have a boys' soccer team. With the construction of a new field, a boys soccer team will be fielded for the first time.
Board members are also looking into offering summer classes for students who want to take additional classes. Advanced math classes that have not been previously been available will be offered. In addition, Thomas said the school will focus heavily on offering dual enrollment for high school students so they can earn college credits.
While the school name will change, the school colors and mascot will stay the same. The school will also continue to have uniforms. Tuition, which is $4,470, including books, will not increase for the 2014-2015 school year. The school has a projected enrollment of 265 students in grades K-4 through 12th grades for the upcoming school year. Enrollment is still open to the public, Thomas said. The school will host an Open House on May 6 and 7 for potential students and the public. Thomas encouraged people to attend and see the positive changes that are occurring within the school.
"In every aspect we're just really excited," he said. "There's a level of excitement that just hasn't been around in a really long time. You can see all of these different things happenings and it's really encouraging."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. Golden Triangle native asks for children's books to restock Baton Rouge library COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Missing Starkville teen found in West Point STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
3. Property re-appraisals show stability in real estate market COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Photo: A Goose and her goslings COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY