Finally, school gets new building Annapolis Christian to open campus

February 01, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

That there would ever be a new Annapolis Area Christian School became something of a joke to its students. After all, more than a decade has passed since the school began planning its expansion.

"Well, I didn't think it would happen," said 18-year-old Rob Covington. "We kept hearing about [the new school], but I didn't think it would happen."

The joke ends today, as grades nine to 12 move into their very own, brand new school.

After years of sharing space with lower-school students at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, upper-school students today move into 710 Ridgely Ave. -- a spacious two-story, 22,000-square-foot building.

"Now we have more of a sense of ownership," said Marc Dykeman, 17. "Now it's really our school."

The Annapolis Area Christian School began in 1971 with 32 students and four teachers using space leased in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis.

The school now has 686 students at three campuses: the upper school will inhabit the main campus on Ridgely Avenue; some kindergarten through eighth-grade students will remain at the church, while some kindergarten through fifth-grade students attend classes on the school's Severna Park campus, at 110 Ritchie Highway.

Until 1986, all students were using the church, enduring lockers the size of shoe boxes and decreasing amounts of space."

"We had a real problem with space," recalled school Superintendent Ronald Whipple, reflecting on the new campus. "You want to talk about a dream come true . . ."

The new building cost $1.2 million, Mr. Whipple said. Many fundraisers, auctions and community donations went into the school, he added.

The school will have 11 classrooms, a media center and a science lab. Westinghouse donated science equipment eight years ago, and for eight years the equipment has been in storage awaiting its new home.

For students who have grown up with the school, the new building is nothing short of amazing. Rob, a senior who has attended Annapolis Area Christian since the first grade, was not alone in his skepticism. Many of the school's older students also had doubts they would see the upper school completed during their academic careers.

"I'd been told that they'd been taking donations since our class was in the sixth grade," said Ruth Einstein, 17.

"I figured we were going to graduate before they finished it," she said.

"I still don't actually believe we're here. It's a real school. Not a church. And we have real lockers," Ruth added.

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