Worthington Christian Schools leaders plan by the 2020 school year to consolidate their three facilities by shifting high schoolers to an expanded middle school building, moving elementary students to the current high school campus and closing the elementary building.

The project is expected to begin this spring, according to school leaders.

The plan involves a 32,000-square-foot expansion for the middle school building, 8225 Worthington Galena Road in Columbus, just outside Westerville.

The expanded building would be used for grades 7 to 12 by fall 2020, said Polly Shoemaker, director of advancement for Worthington Christian.

All kindergarten through sixth-grade classes would be moved to the current high school campus, 6670 and 6675 Worthington Galena Road in Worthington, she said.

Troy McIntosh, head of school, said the Worthington Christian Elementary School property, 50 Westview Ave. in Columbus, would be sold after the transition is made.

As a result, all grades except 7 and 8 would be in new locations, according to worthingtonchristian.com.

McIntosh said parents had responded in surveys that a move north would make transportation easier.

The elementary school is off High Street and not far north of Morse Road, and the middle school is several miles north, near Polaris Fashion Place. The high school campus is between the other two and west of Schrock Road.

McIntosh said parents often were willing to transport students to the middle school and high school campuses, but not to the elementary school.

As a result of the changes, Shoemaker said, starting in the 2020 school year, Worthington Christian Schools will change its name to Worthington Christian School to symbolize unity.

McIntosh said the expansion also would allow Worthington Christian Schools, which currently has 915 students enrolled, 150 who are from Worthington, to increase enrollment.

The expanded building in Westerville would offer new amenities for students, including a media center, 10 new classrooms and science labs.

Shoemaker said the project would cost $8.9 million and Worthington Christian has raised $6.6 million.

She said Worthington Christian leaders anticipate raising another $500,000, and they also would seek a loan and use the sale of the elementary school to help fund both the expansion at the middle school building and renovations to the current high school building.

The expanded building would be named the Tom Anglea Upper School Campus in honor of a longtime Worthington Christian math teacher who died of cancer in 2012, McIntosh said.

"We're excited to honor his legacy," he said.

The new elementary school would be renamed the Lower School Campus, McIntosh said.

Tyler Mitchell, communications director for Grace Polaris Church, which sponsors the school, said the church owns the property and leases the buildings for the school to use.

He said the church also would own the new addition.

Grace Polaris shares a campus with the soon-to-be Tom Anglea Upper School Campus building.

Mitchell said the college of elders, a group of men who have been approved to govern the church, were enthusiastic about giving the project their approval.

"We are really excited," he said.

Mitchell said the project should not affect day-to-day operations for the church, apart from construction.

Residents are invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, March 1, in the Hogue Gym, 8225 Worthington Galena Road.

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