JACKSON, Tennessee — Sept. 23, 2016 — Jackson Christian hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, for its 12,000-square-foot addition to the middle and high school. Guests toured the $2.4 million expansion, as well as renovated areas of the existing middle and high school. The event was held during the school’s 40th anniversary year.
“Today marks the celebration of 40 years of sacrificial giving, dreaming and trusting our heavenly Father. There’s no doubt that today we are reaping a harvest that we did not sow. It is my heart’s desire that this remarkable addition to Jackson Christian will further equip us in this eternal process of shaping world leaders for Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Mark Benton, Jackson Christian president. “I am humbled by God's rich blessings and deeply encouraged by the outpouring of love by so many. May Jesus Christ always serve as the cornerstone for Jackson Christian and his immeasurable love the capstone.”
The addition was created to enhance the overall academic experience. It includes the gateway to the building (lobby area), dedicated space for the choral program, a robotics lab and three new STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math) learning centers. Additionally, renovated space in the middle school created a new life sciences laboratory.
Significant athletic upgrades include a soccer complex completed in spring 2016, a tennis complex to be completed in spring 2017 and improvements to the football field, including new lights, goalposts and video scoreboard. All existing learning and common spaces were refurbished with new flooring and paint. Additionally, the cafeteria was remodeled, adding a lounge area for senior and faculty/staff dining.
In honoring the 40th anniversary, Judith Humphreys, a member of the inaugural board, and instructor Joan Gateley spoke. Humphreys’ children and a grandchild are alumni of the school, and two other grandchildren are current students. Gateley has served the school for more than 30 years, continuing to teach mathematics.
The capital improvements are the result of the Lead Campaign, which launched October 2014 and stands at $2.4 million in cash and pledges. Kathryn Tyler, who has been involved with the school since its inception, serves as honorary campaign chair. Ken (retired faculty member) and Linda (director of elementary) Bradford chair the faculty/staff portion, and Clark and Mamie Converse serve as parent chairs.
“We’ve been blessed by the enthusiastic support of the entire Jackson Christian family,” Chris Ramey, director of advancement, said. “Not only have they given their time and energy — but with virtually 100 percent commitment from the board, faculty and staff, they have contributed more than $500,000 to this effort.” With an overall goal of $3.3 million, the Lead Campaign is set to conclude October 2017.
Jackson Christian began in 1976 with 56 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school met at the Central Church of Christ, with a goal of providing a quality education in a Christian environment. By 1979 a building had been constructed on 28 acres at 832 Country Club Lane. That fall enrollment reached 200 students in kindergarten though 11th grade.
The years that followed showed continued growth and improvement. In 1995, a new elementary complex was built on Rushmeade Road. Other construction followed: a 1,600-seat gymnasium in 2001 and the Linda Tyler Early Learning Village for preK and kindergarten classes in 2008. The 21st Century Digital Learning Initiative brought iPad technology to all grade levels in 2011. Care of babies and toddlers was added in 2016. Interscholastic athletics began in 1976, with junior high boys basketball and cheerleaders. Other sports for both boys and girls, including baseball, softball, football, soccer, tennis, cross-country, golf and track, followed.
Today enrollment stands at more than 880 students, with programs for infants though 12th grade. Jackson Christian is fully accredited by AdvancED through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Christian School Association. More information is available at http://www.jcseagles.org and http://facebook.com/JacksonChristianEagles.