Home Education Hillcrest Christian Academy to build new school

Hillcrest Christian Academy to build new school

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Virginia Cunningham


LOVINGTON — Innovative, secure and state-of-the-art is the type of school Hillcrest Christian Academy will start building in the first quarter of 2023.

Tony Mabe, owner and contractor with Artisans Guild Construction said the building will cost approximately $7 million dollars, and will be located on the corner of Avenue I and 2nd Street in Lovington.

“There will be moveable (interior) walls allowing the staff to go between 16 to 18 classrooms, or adjust rooms for classroom size,” said Mabe. “All the classrooms will be on the first floor (of the two-floor building).”

The second floor will feature a full size gym and an outdoor play area with astroturf, gating and plexiglass for safety and wind break purposes, said Mabe.

The addition of the playground on the roof of the first floor, and the second floor gym will be an improvement in safety compared to where children now play at the school.

“We had to block off our parking lot for recess because the playground is too small. One of the things we are looking forward to is the gym and play area in the new building,” said HCA Principal Denise Whitman.

He said safety was the first priority in the designing phase of the school.

“The planning board sat down and we thought of everything that could be a potential threat or problem,” said Mabe. “This will be one of the most secure and weather tight buildings in Lovington.”

With threats to schools dominating headlines, it was important for the staff, students and parents to feel safe, said HCA principal Denise Whitman.

The building will also be energy efficient, using passive and LED lighting, said Mabe.

“We will reduce energy costs by 70 percent,” said Mabe.

Addressing another safety concern, the well insulated walls will also contain concrete, making them able to stand up to small arms fire and small explosives, said Mabe.

“The design is something contractors have used in military institutions,” he said. 

The parking lot area will also see improvements Made said. It will be well lit, and security monitoring will be inside and outside. 

And technology will also be addressed in the $7 million project.

“State of the art audio and visual equipment will be installed in the classrooms,” said Mabe. 

Even though HCA will be upgrading the school campus, the school itself isn’t that old.

HCA started in 2021, using Hillcrest Baptist Church, with an enrollment of 30 students, said Whitman.

“People think we started this school because of COVID, but our pastor, Chad Wease, started talking about a school being here (at the church) five years ago,” said Whitman. “It had been decided in 2019 before COVID shut schools down in New Mexico.”

Whitman said she is amazed at how fast the school is growing.

“It’s a God thing. And when God wants something to happen, all things will fall in line,” said Whitman.

Before the school started, an anonymous donor contacted Wease and said they would like to see a new school built and they want the teachers at HCA make more money. The donor started sending $25,000 a month to HCA, which was divided between the teachers and building fund, said Whitman. T

he first money was received in September of 2021.

In April, the donor then upped their contribution to $70,000 a month, in order to speed up construction, Whitman said.

“I’ve been saying from the start, ‘If God ordains it, nothing’s going to stop it,’” said Whitman.

The church prayed to start with 20 students and started with 30. 

Attendance has since grown to the cap of 130 students, and there is now a waiting list for enrollment, said Whitman.

The school offers — and plans to continue to offer — speech and occupational therapy through Lovington Municipal schools. Band, choir, and sports are available at the high school level through Lovington Municipal Schools and a dual credit classes are available through New Mexico Junior College, said Whitman.

“We (school staff) transport students to Lovington Schools for these classes as needed,” said Whitman.

For students who are on an individual education plan (IEP) HCA does a service plan, said Whitman.

“I worked with special education in the public schools, as have some of my staff. Together we can make accommodations needed for students with learning disabilities.”

The school offers grades pre-k through 12 said Whitman.

Fundraising will be taking place to raise funds for curriculum for the next school year, as well as to go into the building fund, said Whitman.

“The Warrior Gala in February 2023 will be a major fund raising event. We will need to raise $40,000 for next years curriculum and anything above that will go toward the cost of building the new school,” said Whitman.

There are sponsor pledges ranging from $250 to $10,000 for businesses or individuals, and tables and tickets are available to the gala being held at the Lea County Fair Grounds, said Whitman.

“Our students are working on refurbishing furniture for the silent auction to be held during the gala. We are also looking for donations for the silent auction as well,” said Whitman.

For more information contact 575-602-1272 or the address for HCA is 220 W. Avenue I Lovington, NM.

Virginia Cunningham’s email is reporter2@hobbsnews.com.

For more local news: www.hobbsnews.com

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