FULTON, Ill. — While Unity Christian School has purchased 20 acres in Clinton to construct a new K-12 building, $4 million still is needed to complete the project.
Unity Principal Chris Pluister was hoping for a 2018 start for the new school, which would be moving from Fulton to Clinton, though more hurdles than anticipated have appeared.
In addition to fundraising woes, the weather pushed back corn harvest from the lot between 13th Avenue North and 19th Avenue where the school would stand. This and additional groundwork have pushed the goal start date to 2019.
The whole build is estimated to take about 11 months.
“We needed to initiate that this year,” Pluister said. “We did not raise all the funds we needed to, which gives us more time to do more fundraising and to get plans a little firmer, a little more finalized so that we’d be ready for 2019.”
Though this wasn’t what was hoped for, “God’s timing is always better,” Pluister said. The school and its governing board are excited about the first step taken in purchasing the land in September 2017.
“It’s a really big step for us to have had that to own and be committed,” Pluister said. “We are moving forward with this project even if it takes us a year or two longer than anticipated.”
The Unity Christian School Foundation and a capital campaign are the driving sources in finding funding for the new school. Pluister said he does not want to entertain a loan.
Conversations around a new building started about two years ago.
“We want to build a new one, more suitable to education in the 21st century, with the thought of not only handicapped accessibility, but designed for more modern-day classrooms,” Pluister said.
The school board and Plusiter started by looking at its three Fulton properties and how to utilize what they already had.
Ideally, Unity Christian could bring athletic fields to the school property.
“(Currently,) really we don’t have the space here that we would like,” Pluister said.
Thirty properties were looked at before landing on the Clinton lot; the visibility and access to city services helped when making that decision. The six-block-long and 388-feet-wide plot was purchased for $450,000 in September.