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Summer Campus Improvements

This summer, the StoneBridge campus has been abuzz with activity. In between the prospective family tours and the business of year-long staff, the hallways were filled with contractors, plumbers, architects, and their accompanying sounds. Last year, the StoneBridge Board of Directors approved a summer construction project to optimize the space on campus. The proposed 10-week plan was ambitious—additional classrooms, offices, and tutoring space, a new Rehearsal Hall and dining quarters, a renovated Assembly Hall (formerly the Auditorium), and a completely remodeled Fellowship Hall (now called The Annex). Thankfully, the Building Committee, comprised of Director of Operations Dan Jester, and three StoneBridge volunteers, Kelley Anderson, Kim Frost and Mandi Plumlee, kept the project on track and oversaw the incredible transformation and timeline.

After a hectic spring as Upper School Principal, Dan Jester accepted a new position as the Director of Operations, leading the project as it began in full force as soon as the students left campus in June. “I want a world class facility that honors and glorifies God with excellence,” Jester shared. “I have a vision for stewardship. I want to use the nine acres of campus that God has blessed us with.” Stewardship is a concept he discussed with students as principal and he now sees the opportunity to use his passions to use our spaces in the best way possible.

“I want our campus to make a good first impression. A campus represents the programs. I want our campus to match the excellence of our academic program and service of our teachers. Making our campus reflect that excellence will support our mission to further God’s Kingdom locally and nationwide,” Mandi Plumlee stated when asked about her hopes for StoneBridge.
 
Those sentiments are shared by Kim Frost. Frost, a current SBS board member, wants a campus that reflects StoneBridge’s high standards and excellence, but she also wants to signal stability to the community. “At this time, I think it’s imperative that we make a permanent statement and not just offer or execute temporary solutions. I feel God has made it really clear that now is the time for us to make these changes by blessing us with continued growth in enrollment.”

Kelley Anderson has been a familiar face around campus all summer, often seen painting lockers, spackling walls, or completing other tasks to keep the project on track. “My family has gained so much from the biblical educational experience that the founding families created, which is still changing families almost 40 years later. I want to be a part of that process and contribute to the StoneBridge legacy that will make an impact on a future StoneBridge family 30 years from now.”

The dedication to optimizing the campus is a testament to the character impacting power of the Principle Approach; it influences not only the children, but the entire family. That influence was demonstrated further by a simple email requesting help to get the school ready for the new year, resulting in 100 StoneBridge family members turning up on a beautiful Saturday to move furniture, paint, clean, and landscape.

Dr. Carole Adams recounted an abridged version of StoneBridge School’s recent history. In the early 2000’s, the school was at the peak in enrollment, supporting 450 students. But after the economic recession of 2008, StoneBridge saw its enrollment take a drastic hit. Adams credits the leadership of current Head of School Kathy Rader for stabilizing the six-year decline of student enrollment and putting the school back on track to return to an optimal 450 students by 2020.  As more families enrolled, space was at a premium and the need for additional classrooms became apparent. In 2015, StoneBridge School purchased the current property on Jolliff Road from Faith Baptist Church and the school promptly raised money for campus improvements through the Opening Doors Campaign. The campus was soon made more welcoming with a functional and aesthetically pleasing parking lot and front entrance. However, the initial plan to add another modular was nixed as it did not align with the school’s long-term vision. Instead, additional classrooms were added by re-configuring current spaces to allow SBS to use its property in the best possible way.

Many improvements will welcome the community when they return to campus next week. The former Auditorium, now the Assembly Hall, was modernized with the removal of the pews, new flooring, and the addition of more than 260 plush chairs. This area will also serve as the dining facility. Behind the Assembly Hall is the new Rehearsal Hall, which will house our choral and drama programs. The preschool classrooms were reconfigured, adding an age-appropriate bathroom in the classrooms. Additional classrooms, offices, and storage spaces were also added to the lower school. The Fellowship Hall was reconfigured into The Annex, a space that houses two classrooms and our new Library and Media Center, as well as the Upper School Administrative offices. In addition, many areas were repainted and beautified to give our campus a welcoming feel to our families and guests.

We are thankful for God’s faithfulness and provision for our school. We are also thankful for the generosity of our volunteers on the Building Committee, Kelley Anderson, Kim Frost, and Mandi Plumlee, who used their time, energy, and resources to help accomplish the next steps of God’s plan for StoneBridge School.