Newberry Christian Community School Moves To New Location

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After two years of wondering where their next location was going to be, the Newberry Christian Community School found what could be their next home.

At the beginning of January, the private school relocated to Gainesville’s Vineyard Church, where officials will be purchasing the land. The Vineyard Church will now be the Newberry Christian Community School and Church.

When the school originally opened two years ago, it was located on rented land at the Westwood Church of God.

The Vineyard Church, pictured above, is becoming the Newberry Christian Community School and Church.
The Vineyard Church, pictured above, is becoming the Newberry Christian Community School and Church. (Joey Schatt/WUFT News)

“Our school is finally going to be able to say that we’re established, and that we’re home somewhere, instead of always not knowing where we’re going to lease next,” said principal James Schrader.

The students officially started school at their new property on Jan. 4.

“When we moved in January, we thought we were good to go, but I got a call that we had some major issues,” Schrader said.

The Newberry Christian School was “out of compliance” with the special-use permit previously issued to Vineyard Church. Under city rules, any school on that property could teach from kindergarten to ninth grade only.

“It seems silly, but rules are rules,” Schrader said.

So for the past month, the school has been breaking the city’s rules by teaching their 10th, 11th and 12th grade students on this new property. But city officials were aware and worked quickly with the school to get this resolved.

The school amended the special-use permit to include grades 10 through 12, and it was approved at a city-planning meeting on January 28th. The permit was also amended to increase the number of students who can attend school on the property.

The school currently has 225 students, and the cap has been raised to 375 on the new 50,000 square-foot property. This will allow up to 150 new students to enroll in the upcoming months.

“I am so happy we can get new classmates, because I will have even more friends to play with on our new playground,” said fourth-grader Abby Iams.

A larger playground is one of the many perks that the school is enjoying on the new property. The school also has a cafeteria, so students don’t have to eat lunch in their classrooms, as they did at their old location.

Students at Newberry Christian are excited about the larger playground at their new school
Students at Newberry Christian are excited about the larger playground at their new school. (Joey Schatt/WUFT News)

The larger square footage also allows for the separate grades to be more spread apart than they previously were. And the school will finally have room for special classes, such as agriculture and debate. Teachers will also begin offering advanced classes for students who are excelling in their studies.

With the potential for 150 new students, the school will be able to introduce more athletic opportunities and extracurricular activities.

“I am so excited that my daughter is finally going to be able to play soccer on a school team. It’s her favorite sport and she wasn’t able to do this before,” said Tara Iams, Abby’s mother.

By bringing in new students, the school will be looking to hire 10 to 12 new staff members. Schrader said there should be one teacher for every 15 students.

“I think we must be careful to keep our teacher to student ratio low, so every student gets what they need,” said resource teacher Amy Padgett.

While the space is for 150 new students, there is currently a waiting list of about 75. An average of 2 to 3 families are interviewing each day for next fall.

The application process involves a placement test, as well as a meeting with the administration to determine if the student is academically and spiritually fit for the institution.

Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to call the school at (352) 363-6322 to set up an enrollment appointment.

About Jacob Embuscado

Jacob is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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