by Breanna Wood
The student population of Immanuel Elementary has been growing rapidly these last few years. The administration realized that more buildings were needed, or new students would have to be turned away due to lack of classroom space. Superintendent Ryan Wood stated, “The enrollment growth was happening very fast, and we knew if it continued, which we projected it would, we would need more classrooms.”
The process of designing and finding funding for this new construction began about two-and-a-half years ago. “The design has come out of the experience of the very gifted Principal Kim Thiesen and Superintendent Ryan Wood. They have put this extraordinary design together in such a small space, where every inch has been utilized,” Dan Goetz, head of construction on the Elementary School said.
The new campus is being built in three phases. The First Phase is the Office and Library Building, which will include the reception area, the principal’s office, and a staff room. A Classroom Building will also be constructed during Phase One. This will include two classrooms for each grade level, second through sixth, a storage room, bathrooms, and an intervention room.
The Second Phase will be the Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms, two per grade, just like second through sixth grades. The Third Phase will be a Multi-Purpose Room to be used as a cafeteria and chapel. This building will contain a kitchen and a full stage in the interior of the building, which will be back to back with an outdoor stage. A full recreational grass field, a basketball court, and a swing set will be added. Goetz, explaining where they are in this process, stated, “As of now, we have completed the underground utilities for the entire project, and we have poured all the foundation work for the First Phase. The framing for the wood structures for the First Phase will be complete in the next couple of weeks. We hope to have windows set and the royal blue metal standing seam roofing started by that time.”
This new school complex will include features the current Elementary School doesn’t have. Each of the two classrooms per grade level will be connected by an interior door; an outdoor amphitheater will be available for events such as family movie nights; and touch whiteboards will be in each classroom. Goetz explained the new state-of-the-art technology like so, “Teachers will be able to use their very ordinary whiteboards as touch screens with a special projector connected to their computers. Students will be able to come to the white board and participate in activities at the white board with a touch of their fingers.”
As important and needed as this Elementary School is, it cannot be accomplished without financial support. Phase One has a price-tag of $3.75 million, and $300,000 is still needed to reach completion. Phase Two will cost $1 million, and Phase Three will cost $1.75 million. Donor support is always appreciated. Ron Hudson also stated, “No financial gift has been too small. The Lord has blessed each gift and each gift is needed. This is a special time in Immanuel’s history, and we are thankful to God for so many faithful supporters of Immanuel Schools.”
Principal Kim Thiesen also thanks those who give when it isn’t financially easy, saying, “We know that many of our families are giving sacrificially to this project and that investment in the future of Immanuel will pay dividends. They are not just providing for their children, but they are allowing for future generations of children to receive a solid Biblical foundation. Wow, that is humbling!”
Thiesen shared how many of the crews working on the building are Immanuel alumni, have children who graduated from Immanuel, or have children currently enrolled. She said, “For me, the most memorable part of this process has been watching the Lord’s hand at work. He has provided just the right people when we have needed them.” She also stated, “It is special to have so many people working on the project who have a vested interested in the Lord’s work at Immanuel.”
A time of prayer and scripture-writing took place on December 19, which included a group prayer over the campus, and allowed elementary students, staff, and parents to write verses on the newly-framed walls of the building. Thiesen exclaimed, “It was so special to see the Lord’s promises written by our students and families all over the campus. We want this project to bring the Lord glory!”
Goetz stated that their intention is to have both Phase One and Phase Two complete by the beginning of the school year in August 2017. Although full completion is desired as soon as possible, it depends very strongly on the funding.