Construction and Real Estate

High school opens new $43M building

January 24, 2019
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South Christian High School
Courtesy South Christian High School

A high school in the area has opened a new 177,000-square-foot building.

South Christian High School started classes this semester in the new three-story building in Byron Center, at 7979 Kalamazoo Ave. SE.

The $43.2-million building can accommodate 700 students and includes 56 classrooms, a 1,100-seat auditorium with balcony, community spaces, STEM facilities and creative and industrial arts spaces.

Features also include a performance gym, learning gym, a baseball diamond for physical education classes, a practice football field and a parking lot with lighting.

The STEM area includes rearrangeable furniture, a common area for viewing projects and a classroom with a glass door designated for experiments.

Excavation work on the building site began in April 2017.

The school has owned the land for the last 20 years, which was formerly used for farming, according to Sandy Dobbs, the school’s development director.

The new building sits adjacent to the school’s athletic complex, which has been operational for almost two decades and includes numerous athletic fields.

Funding

The $43.2 million covers the entire investment toward the project.

The school raised $38.8 million in cash, materials and labor for the project.

Its former building, at 160 68th St. SW, is listed with NAI Wisinski of West Michigan for $3.95 million, and there are several interested parties, Dobbs said. Dobbs said the remaining amount needed for fundraising will depend on the purchase price of the building.

There is financing from Lake Michigan Credit Union to cover the final fundraising and pledges due in subsequent years.

Once the needed funds are raised for the construction and endowment of the new facility, fundraising will be considered for the construction and endowment of a stadium and track, the school said.

Firms on the project

Grand Rapids-based AMDG Architects served as the project’s architect.

Ada-based Dan Vos Construction Company was the contractor on the project. Grand Rapids-based Exxel Engineering completed the civil engineering work.

The project’s interior designer was Grand Rapids-based Via Design.

South Christian High School

Founded in 1954, South Christian High School is an independent private high school that serves 612 students.

Jim Peterson is the head of school. George Guichelaar is the principal. Mike Muller is the board president.

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