ARGYLE — Families at Liberty Christian School celebrated a dream fulfilled Saturday.
The school hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for Phase I of its two-part “Great Expectations” expansion campaign. The event was hosted simultaneously with the third annual Charnival, a charity carnival put on by the student council that raises money for more than 20 charities worldwide.
Last week, school officials welcomed students back to a campus that was a lot bigger than the one they left at Christmas break.
Liberty Christian now includes a two-story high school wing with 50 rooms, including classrooms and labs. There are seven additional early childhood education and lower school classrooms, and a gymnasium that doubles as a lunchroom for the younger students.
The campus has a new library, improved roads and parking, an outdoor learning plaza, the Warrior Union lobby and an expanded shop, LC Shoppe, where families and students can buy school uniforms and spirit wear.
The expansion allows the school to move its middle school students out of portable buildings they’ve used since 2008 and into classrooms in the old high school wing.
“We’re the school on the hill. You can’t miss us anymore,” said Julie Barber, the school’s director of campus planning. “It’s very impressive now. You can really see us from [U.S. Highway] 377 now. Before, you were like, ‘Where is Liberty Christian?’ But we’re pretty massive on the hill now.”
Liberty Christian broke ground the project in May 2014.
The first phase cost about $17 million and added about 100,000 square feet to the campus, Barber said. The school has already raised $3.3 million for Phase 2 of the project but still needs to raise the remaining $4.7 million before work can begin on a 1,000-seat worship and performing arts center and double gymnasium. Contributions come from Liberty Christian families past and present, according to school officials.
“It wouldn’t have happened without our families,” Barber said. “I mean, our families really have funded this project. We started this campaign back in 2013, 2012, with just a vision of ‘this is what we think we want to do’ … and our parents and our teachers just got on board and supported us all the way through it. We had some unbelievable donations come in that really allowed us to go, ‘OK, we can move forward with this.’”
Rodney Haire, the school’s president and founder, during a brief ceremony told families that the promises of God are true if you believe them. He told the story of a philosophy professor who wrote on his board as students arrived: “When you believe it, you can see it.”
“That is exactly true of Liberty Christian School,” Haire said. “What we believed would happen, now we see it. Maybe in part — we’re not through.
“When you believe, it happens.”
Nikki Jacobs has a child in fifth grade and another in seventh grade at Liberty Christian. She said the school continues to grow and bring more families in. The expansion, Jacobs said, will open a lot of opportunities for students in terms of improving traffic flow and not having to share resources.
While most students in the area returned to classes from winter break Jan. 5, Liberty Christian students had an additional week off so teachers would have more time to prepare their new classrooms. Upper and middle school students returned to classes on Monday, starting the day by lining the hallways to pray and give thanks for the added space and pray for the new semester, themselves and their peers and teachers.
“I really like all the space that we have now. I think it’s great that we have a two-story high school, wider hallways and new classrooms,” said Matt Ramirez, a high school junior. “I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to adjust to it all because I’m still getting lost trying to figure out where my classes are, but I think in the long run it will be a great thing to have. The things that are coming in the future as well are going to be great, just to see how our school grows.”
Morgan Harrison, a senior, has attended Liberty Christian since sixth grade. The hallways were often crowded before; now, she said, it’s easier to move around.
“It was really refreshing because it was a new start, and everyone was excited for this new beginning that we got to experience,” Harrison said. “We’re going to be the first senior class to graduate from this building.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.