The former Village Academy building in Powell soon will find new life in a church.

The academy, 284 S. Liberty St., closed suddenly July 19 after three decades of operation.

Leaders cited "a decline in enrollment and withdrawal of contracts" in a statement posted to the school's website at the time.

Faith Life Church representatives last week confirmed the purchase of the entire Village Academy property.

According to the Delaware County auditor's website, the church paid $3.5 million for the property and closed on it Dec. 26.

Faith Life, based in New Albany, has been looking to expand into the area for about two years, said Sarah Traylor, a Faith Life pastor who will serve with her husband, Stephen, as a campus pastor for the Powell location.

The Traylors have been pastors with Faith Life for nine years.

"We had looked at a number of buildings before the (Village Academy) site came on our radar," Sarah Traylor said. "The property checked all of our boxes."

"Once we toured it, things happened quickly. We felt it was a perfect fit," said Ron Farber, a director of pastoral care at Faith Life.

Traylor said the church is in consultation with an architect to see what, if any, updates or renovations need to be made to the former school buildings before the church formally moves in. She said the hope is for the Powell campus of Faith Life to be open by spring.

Traylor said the church intends to offer more than just weekend services, with a variety of programming throughout the week, similar to its New Albany location.

"We think of it like a community center," she said. "We offer groups and classes, athletics, performing arts ... We offer a leadership program in New Albany.

"We hope to bring all that our church offers to the Powell area."

Traylor said she expects the church will hold its weekend services in the former Village Academy gymnasium building.

Powell City Council member Jon Bennehoof said city leaders planned to meet with church leaders earlier this week "to welcome them into the community and learn about the church's plans."

Bennehoof acknowledged the importance to the site to the city but did not comment on the issue of property-tax revenue to the city. Per Ohio Revised Code, church property can be exempt from property taxes in many situations.

Traylor said Faith Life has met with some members of the community, including former Village Academy teachers, to learn about the history of the school and its role in the community.

"We're finding that people are happy the property will be used as is," Traylor said.

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