Westisde Christian High School set to move in by fall

by: TIMES PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Westisde sophomore Amy Davis writes part of Psalm 147 onto the floor at the new Westside Christian High School on Pacific Highway. The school is going throuh a major remodel, and students were encouraged to leave messages on the exposed floor and walls of the building.If it were any other situation, it would have been called vandalism.

At Westside Christian, it was called saying hello.

With permanent markers in hand, students last week packed into what would eventually be the cafeteria of Westside Christian High School.

The teenagers spread out across the cafeteria, scribbling notes across the concrete floor. Some wrote messages to friends, others transcribed verses from the Bible.

It was all part of making a mark on the building that will become their new school, said student Laura Jauch during a groundbreaking ceremony at the school on May 6.

“The building is exposed and open,” she said. “The student body is welcome to write prayers, scripture and your hopes and dreams for the school on the school itself.”

When students begin classes in the new Christian high school this September, it will look very different from the building they see today.

by: TIMES PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Don Westerberg, director of development at Westside Christian High School, speaks during a dedication ceremony on May 6. The school has been looking for a permanent home for years.This day has been a long time coming. The Lake Oswego-based private Christian school has been looking for a permanent home for years, eventually taking over the City Bible Church building near the intersection of Highway 217 and Pacific Highway.

“Who would have thought when Westside started 31 years ago with four teachers and 10 students, without even a building to be in, that one day we would own our own property and have an impact across the globe?” said Don Westerberg, Westside’s director of development.

In an afternoon of prayer and reflection, students and community members looked back at the past three decades of Westside, and at the future students can expect in the coming months.

Westside senior Matthew Staropoli will have graduated by the time the new school opens its doors, but that didn’t stop him from celebrating as much as anyone else.

“We were supposed to go to this school, but with all the complications that was moved back a year,” Staropoli said, adding that Moses never made it himself to the promised land. “Instead, we became the ambassadors to move the student body through Westside to the new building. Like the staff has been by our side, we will be by the side of all the students.”

That sentiment was shared by senior Mikaela Easterlin.

“We’re all in this together,” she said. “Even if we are not going to be at this school, we and all the classes will still be a part of this school.”

The building will go through an extensive remodel before students show up in the fall.

Plans are to build space for music, drama and art classes, as well as a new gym, fitness center, locker rooms, science labs, a library and computer labs. Plans also call for resizing existing rooms and widening hallways.

The cost of the property purchase and renovation project total an estimated $12.2 million.

While the purchase marks a major milestone for the school, Westerberg said it’s not the most important thing.

“The glory is not in the brick or mortar,” he said after a short prayer, “but in the one who will permeate and empower what goes on here.”

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