Rockford Christian School plans to expand with $16 million investment

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Updated: November 18, 2017, 9:30 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A $16 million expansion is planned for Rockford Christian School's Bell School Road campus, and administrators say it won't cost families a dime.

"There's just so much to offer and so we're excited to draw more populous to Rockford,” said Superintendent of Rockford Christian Schools Randy Taylor.

Rockford Christian School unveils big plans to grow its college prep programs and its facilities.

"We're adding a new athletic facility center and also a fine arts center. We're broadening our program to become a boarding school as well as our regular school so we're building facilities to house students that will be here year round,” said Taylor.

The residence hall will house nearly 200 students. To fill it, Rockford Christian will try to attract students from around the world. Administrators believe that global outreach will touch our city in a big way.

"It's going to flow money into the community because they're going to shop here, they're going to eat in our restaurants, they’re going to create jobs,” said Taylor.

"I think having an international boarding school within the city of Rockford is a really good thing,” said 1st Ward Alderman Tim Durkee.

Some neighbors worry the residence hall could be a nuisance. Rockford Christian is in Alderman Tim Durkee's ward. He says the improvements will add value to nearby homes.

"Most property values go up when a school is built. Property values are questionable when you own a home next to vacant land,” said Durkee.

The additions will be funded through a partnership with Summit International, who will buy the land and lease it to the school, so families won't need to pay additional tuition fees.

“This has actually been a desire since back in '08 but when the economy did the downturn, we weren’t able to follow through, but now with this involvement, we're able to fulfill a dream,” said Taylor.

The school is hoping to break ground on the project this winter with hopes of the facilities being up and running by the 2019 school year. The Rockford City Council will need to approve the project before construction can begin.

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford Christian School plans to expand their facilities with a $16 million investment by adding new facilities and a residence hall.

The school is looking to build a residence hall that will house nearly 200 students all year round. Rockford Christian Schools says they are planning to broaden their program to become a boarding school for students all around the world.

"We've just reached the state that we think we can market our program around the nation and literally around the world," said Superintendent of Rockford Christian Schools Randy Taylor.

Rockford Christian is also looking to add a recreation facility where students can work out and socialize. The school says athletic teams will also be able to use this facility, especially in the spring where weather conditions can prevent practices. The new addition will also include a 16,000 square foot fine arts center that will include classrooms and a nearly 900 seat theater for the schools' fine arts program.

"This has actually been a desire back in '08, but when the economy did the downturn, we weren't able to follow through but now with this involvement, we're able to fulfill a dream," said Taylor.

Taylor says the school wants to be able to attract students from all over to make Rockford Christian their "home away from home." The school says families will not have to pay additional costs through tuition or fees for the new additions. Rockford Christian says the expansion comes from an initiative with Summit International, a corporation that invests in educational institutions.

Taylor says they hope to break ground on the project this winter in hopes the facilities will be up and running by the 2018-2019 school year. However, the Zoning Board of Appeals will approve the project at a meeting on Tuesday. The full city council will then need to approve the expansion before construction can begin.

"We have positive anticipation, though not guarantee, that the city council will allow us this and we'll be able to move forward with our plans," said Taylor.