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Temple Baptist Church to house Lodi Christian School

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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 2:42 pm, Wed Sep 12, 2012.

One campus on Lower Sacramento Road will soon be home to three separate organizations with one solid vision of Christian education.

Temple Baptist Church is planning a new youth building to hold classes and ministries for nursery-aged children through sixth grade. The church already oversees Jim Elliot Christian High School on the same property.

Meanwhile, Lodi Christian School is looking for a new location with space to expand and add a multipurpose room.

When each group got wind of the other's plans, LCS trustee Gary Silva said it was a natural crossing of paths.

Temple Baptist Church began its plans for a new building five years ago, motivated by a need for more space. Church leaders and a consultant developed a conceptual plan of the church's needs for the future. They found the youth classrooms and nurseries were most in need of an update. The rooms in use now were built in 1986.

Lodi Christian School is five years old, and sits along Highway 99 in Acampo. Silva said the school has wanted to grow into a full campus, complete with a multipurpose room and plenty of space outdoors. The space the school is currently leasing belongs to Faith Community Church of the Nazarene, but the school is not able to commit to such a large construction project, said Silva.

The school began looking into other options and approached Temple Baptist Church after learning of their building plans.

Executive Pastor Steve Opp said the new building was not thought of with LCS in mind, but plans have been expanded to accommodate the school.

"It's a shared facility that highlights Christian education. Each one values the same thing, so fits in with our core values," said Opp.

Plans call for a 32,000-square-foot building with a preschool classroom, several elementary school rooms and a few junior high school classrooms. Temple Baptist Church will use these rooms for their ministries primarily in the evening and on Sundays. Lodi Christian School will lease the building for use during school hours.

Nothing is set in stone just yet. Temple Baptist Church must present its plans to the Lodi Planning Commission tonight to begin the permitting process for construction. The goal is for the church and the school to share space by August 2014.

Currently, 165 students attend Lodi Christian School. At the new campus, they could enroll up to 225 students. Jim Elliot is in its 15th year and enrolls 220 students.

"There has not been a lot of expression of our plans because we wanted to be able to say, 'Here's the vision, this is the proposed timeline and this is vehicle we are going to use to get it done," said Silva. "Over the last six months, it has been a great joy and pleasure for the board to feel comfortable sharing that vision with everybody.'"

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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