Huron Christian School breaks ground on expansion - June 28, 2018
BY LISA B. POT
Eight months into an 18-month fundraising campaign, Huron Christian School (HCS) in Clinton has raised $3.11 million towards a massive expansion and renovation project.
That number had exceeded $4 million at the school’s groundbreaking ceremony held June 19 with two founding members of the school and local officials attending.
“This is quite an event for our community and school society,” said Huron Christian School Board Chair Paul VandenDool. “The Same Foundation, Next Generation campaign is the largest capital undertaking this school has ever taken.”
With the $4 million raised, the school will be able to launch the original “grand plan” and renovate a facility that is in need of more room and upgrades. The renovation, scheduled to begin in July, will add four more classrooms including one that can be used as a shop.
Major upgrades to existing classrooms in the primary end, a new performing arts room, a vastly expanded front lobby, a new student hub in the middle of the school, repositioning the stage in the gym and a new roof over the whole building will result in a completely different looking school, inside and out, once the project is completed in the spring of 2019, states a press release.
“The new school will reflect a different learning environment for children growing up in a world that is already quite different than what their parents experienced,” said Principal Nick Geleynse. “Access to technology has changed how education is done and how students interact with one another. We’ve purposely designed this building to promote and encourage students to connect and feel like they are part of a larger community.”
Geleynse said many of the new rooms have been designed as multi-purpose spaces for maximum flexibility.
“What is going on at HCS can only be described as extraordinary,” said Geleynse. “We’re excited to see how God is using HCS to prepare students to shape the culture that they are part of.”
Since construction will overtake the whole building, students and staff will be moving to Vanastra Community Church (formerly Vanastra Public School) for the 2018/2019 learning year. Volunteers are busy this week moving materials over to the new facility.
Before classes ended for the year, the school held a groundbreaking ceremony at which original founding member Peter Damsma of Clinton presented a speech via his daughter, Ingrid Dekens. It was emotional for many to see that the school he and several others started over 50 years ago is now attended by a handful of Damsma’s great-grandchildren.
“I look at my great-grandchildren and I wonder in 56 years what they will remember of this school,” wrote Damsma. “I do know that because of the commitment being shown today, God’s name will continue to be honoured and glorified.”
Huron County Warden and Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn, also attended the groundbreaking ceremony. He was moved to see former neighbour, Case DeBoer, also an original founder of HCS, at the event.
Ginn credited the school community’s “amazing accomplishment of fundraising” and the caring community that exists in Huron County. “We should be very proud of that.”
Part of the fundraising goal was to not only upgrade the school, but to partner with a school in the Dominican Republic. Part of the proceeds from the fundraising were donated to EduDeo Ministries in Hamilton to build a new floor at Jericho Christian School in the Dominican Republic.
“Thank you for thinking beyond yourselves... it’s remarkable,” said EduDeo representative Hank DeJong. “Thank you for donating a percentage of your campaign funds to bless others because the need globally is overwhelming.”
The event ended with shovels and dirt as student representative, Allyson DenHollander, dug into the dry, hard ground to launch the project.
Huron Christian School is located at 87 Percival Street in Clinton. This year marks the 56th years that HCS has been a community drawn together by a mutual desire to have Christ-centred education in the area. From the first informal meeting after church on July 19, 1953, to the opening of a two-classroom school in 1962 with 54 students, the school has seen much growth over the years.
Now, the school has 163 students from across Huron County serving 15 churches from nine different denominations.