An expansion project is underway at Nanaimo Christian School. The new building, which includes a gymnasium, will be complete in May 2018. SUBMITTED

An expansion project is underway at Nanaimo Christian School. The new building, which includes a gymnasium, will be complete in May 2018. SUBMITTED

Nanaimo Christian School expansion project seeing progress

Construction to wrap up next May

The walls are up on a multimillion-dollar expansion project at Nanaimo Christian School, set to create more space for a growing student population.

Nanaimo Christian School dug into its new project, expected to cost about $5.3 million, last July. It’s a 26,000-square foot building with a double-sized gymnasium, commercial kitchen, additional classrooms and space for theatre, band and music space.

The building marks a second phase of expansion; the first being the construction of a middle and high school building nine years ago, and is in response to a rising student population. James Sijpheer, school principal, said the school has grown from about 270 students to 450 in the last four years and existing space is being maxed out. The school needs more gym time and gym space, but the new gym will also allow it to host high school athletic events, which it hasn’t in the past. Next November, it will host senior girls’ volleyball provincials.

Sijpheer also said there will be many more opportunities for students, expanded spaces for theatre and band and the facility will be open to community use.

“The walls are finally up so it was pretty exciting to watch the crane come in and lift 90,000-pound wall panels,” said Sijpheer, who expected last week the roof would go on, and construction will be complete in May.

The school has fundraised for the new building and is a third of the way to its goal of $1 million. Sijpheer expects more fundraising in the new year. High school students are also creating design boards for the facility, with recommendations on things like trim and cabinet colors, flooring and ceiling tile, which will be presented to the building committee.

-files from Karl Yu