Home Local News Hillcrest breaks ground on new school

Hillcrest breaks ground on new school

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Virginia Cunningham/News-Sun

LOVINGTON — Hillcrest Christian Academy broke ground on a new school on Thursday.

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.

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

“We will reduce energy costs by 70 percent (over the current facility at Hillcrest Baptist Church),” said Mabe.

Well insulated walls in the new facility will also contain concrete, making them able to stand up to small arms fire and small explosives, said Mabe, adding it will be lit with passive lighting and LED lighting.

“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.”

Moveable walls will allow the staff to adjust between 16 and 18 classrooms — or adjust rooms for classroom size, said Mabe.

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

At the groundbreaking Lovington Mayor pro tem David Trujillo congratulated the administration and staff of HCA and said since the school is investing in Lovington, he wants Lovington to invest in them. 

Trujillo said he would talk with the rest of the commission about setting aside funds from next year’s road projects to repave the section of Avenue I from 2nd Street to 3rd Street.

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

Wease said he had a lot of emotions on Thursday.

“From when we started talking about this school and praying and waiting on God, then we started putting the pieces together and seeing progress,” said Wease. “God is working, and He is going to do so much more.”

Wease said they have a couple of donors who give generously toward the funding of the new school, but HCA still needs the support of the community.

HCA started in 2021 with an enrollment of about 30 students, said Whitman.

The church prayed to start the school with 20 students but started with 30, she added. 

Attendance has since grown to about 130 students, and the school has capped enrollment and started a waiting list, said Whitman.

The school offers — and plans to continue to offer — speech and occupational therapy, band, choir, and sports through Lovington Municipal Schools, and 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.

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