CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Bible Center School has completed a $2.35 million, 16,000-square-foot "Recreation and Ministry Center."
Bible Center Church began building the center behind Bible Center School, 1111 Oakhurst Drive, at the beginning of the year. The structure is now complete with bleachers to be installed in the gym this week, said Executive Pastor Lee Walker.
The new center includes a gymnasium, four 120-square-foot classrooms, kitchen, office area, exercise room and restrooms.
The church and the school will use the new building.
"It's neat to have a chance to spread our ministry in the community," said Senior Pastor Eric Mounts. "It is a comfortable space where all will feel welcome. It's a welcome additional asset we have not had. This building will be a hub bringing people together in a joyful setting that will bring us together in our mission. Our mission is to produce maturing followers of Jesus Christ."
A gym has been needed for many years and the school continues to grow, Walker said.
When the first addition at Oakhurst was built in 1983, a half gym was included but it has proved to be inadequate. Years of planning and praying went into the latest building project, he said.
The new gym will be used daily by Bible Center School, where enrollment has increased by 45 percent since middle school was added in 2010, he said.
Enrollment now includes 400 students in preschool through eighth grade.
The church will use the new gymnasium for recreation ministries for children, youth and adults, Walker said. The space will also be used for the regular Wednesday night middle school ministry called Element that includes music, games and Biblically based lessons. The school will use the gym for physical education and sports activities.
Middle school sports for boys and girls now include basketball, soccer, track and golf.
In March 2008, Bible Center Church moved from Oakhurst Drive into a new worship facility off Corridor G. Situated on 96 acres, the church has 66,500 square feet of space on three levels.
The Oakhurst Drive location with 50,000 square feet of space was maintained for offices, teen center and Bible Center School. The new addition means the school now has 66,000 square feet of space. School principal is Garland Elmore, and preschool director is Vicki Hess.
"With the new building we are able to provide a better space for students," Elmore said. "It is larger and cleaner with technology,"
Middle school classrooms were in a modular until students moved into the new facility on Sept. 24.
Elmore said his son, Garland II, is an eighth-grader at Bible Center and was so excited he could hardly sleep the night before the move into the new classrooms.
"God has been good to bless us to have this new facility," the principal said.