Longview Christian School is expanding its facilities to accommodate the school’s growth.
The private school has more than doubled its enrollment since the 2012-13 school year, Administrator Ben Cammack said. This year, the school has 409 students.
Cammack said the school is planning to move its Early Learning Center to a building across the street from its main campus at 1236 Pegues Place. The Longview City Council recently approved a rezoning request that will allow the project to proceed.
According to its website, the school started in 1982 as a ministry of Longview Christian Fellowship Church, now HighRidge Church. The school purchased the main campus property, which formerly was Forest Park Middle School, in 2012.
The property planned for the new Early Learning Center originally was purchased in 2012 by the Austen-Coley Academy, which served dyslexic students. Cammack said three or four years ago, the academy asked to join LCS to become a program serving children with dyslexia.
Cammack said the building will need “pretty heavy renovation,” and the school also wants to add a soccer field.
The school has been raising funds for about a year and is about halfway to its goal, he said. The plan is to start renovations next summer.
“At our current growth rate, we can go about one more year here with the Early Learning Center,” Cammack said. “We’re naming the building after the former director and principal Karen Williams, who passed away this year. We’re raising the funds in her name and naming the building after her.”
Williams started the Early Learning Center in 2012, which serves students ages 6 months to pre-kindergarten. The new building will be named the Karen Dodd Williams Early Learning Center.
The school has experienced consistent growth. In 2012-13, it had 181 students. The next year, the school increased its enrollment to 206, and by 2019-20, 421 students were enrolled.
Like most other schools in the area affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first year since 2012-13 that LCS has experienced a drop in enrollment.
The soccer field will start with dirt work, sprinklers and other maintenance, Cammack said. Later, the school also hopes to use it as a football field.
“We’re also planning a parking lot, but we have to raise more funds to be able to pay for that,” he said.