Toledo Christian's state-of-the-art gymnasium is the largest capital project in the school's 36-year history. The nearly 20,000-square-foot addition will include a front lobby with televisions and a concession stand, an air-conditioned gym, and new locker rooms.
The sky was gray on a recent drizzly day, the kind of day that keeps the construction crew away at Toledo Christian School.
It's also the kind of day Superintendent Mike Chivalette dreads.
The private school is undertaking a $2.7 million expansion to build a state-of-the-art gymnasium -- the largest capital project in the school's 36-year history.
The new gym was originally expected to be completed this month, but the timeline has been pushed back to the end of December.
Earlier this month, the cement walls were up and empty spaces were cut out for the double doors and windows in the gym, which is about 25 percent completed.
"We're in a rush," Mr. Chivalette said. "Days like today don't help us."
For students, there's a growing anticipation for the nearly 20,000-square-foot addition that includes a front lobby with televisions and a concession stand, an air-conditioned gym, and new locker rooms.
School officials expect the gym to open in January, in time for the basketball players to use it for a month before postseason play.
"We always said, ever since I can remember, 'We're going to build a new gym,' " said Ellen Huffman, a 17-year-old from Monclova Township, about the project that has been in the works for eight years. "My senior class is actually going to build it. … I'm so excited about it."
When Miss Huffman graduates in May, her commencement will feel more personal, she said, because it will take place in the gym at the school she's attended since fourth grade.
In past years, the school held ceremonies at local churches because there wasn't enough space in the old gym.
Junior Eric Cellier said he'll miss how loud the old tightly packed gym was during basketball games.
About 500 people could cram into the gym, sitting on eight rows of bleachers that pulled out to within a foot of the out of bounds line. The spectators were so close, sometimes the opposing team's fans reached out and grabbed his shorts.
Toledo Christian Schools Superintendent Mike Chivalette is optimistic that the construction project will be finished without any more delays this year.
"They're right there," said Mr. Cellier, 16, of Northwood, jokingly. "They're not the nicest people."
Still, a new gym will be "sweet," he added, especially because his basketball team will be among the inaugural ones to use it.
Besides basketball and volleyball games and commencement, the new 1,150-seat gym will be used for open gym, theatrical plays, and other events.
As it is being built, the school is continuing to raise funds to pay for it.
It has raised about $1.4 million and taken out a $2.3 million loan to pay off interest on the new gym as well as past debt from previous projects.
Mr. Chivalette said he is optimistic the school will raise more money over the next several years to pay off the mortgage -- and the construction project will be finished without any more delays this year.
"We have a lot to do," Mr. Chivalette said, but added, "This school is going to give a hope, even in the turn of the economy, things can be done if God is in it."
Contact Gabrielle Russon at: email@example.com or 419-724-6026.
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