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April 14, 2017

St. James’ Episcopal raises millions for school project

The downtown Warrenton church hopes to break ground for the 10,000-square-foot school addition (left) this fall. This drawing depicts the addition from Beckham Street.
By Don Del Rosso
Staff Journalist

To date, St. James’ Episcopal Church of Warrenton has raised about $2.1 million to build a 10,000-square-foot addition to its school.

The church set a fundraising goal of $2.2 million for the expansion at 73 Culpeper St.

“I think we’re right on course” to meet that target, St. James’ Rector Ben Maas said.

But, the church will need more money to complete the project, which probably will require some debt, Rev. Maas said.

He declined to discuss the addition’s ultimate cost until the church has a better understanding of variables related to construction bids.

“We’re trying to value engineer,” the pastor said. “But, we’re positive it will exceed” $2.2 million.

St. James also must decide the method and amount of financing required to cover the project’s final price tag, Rev. Maas said.

“That’s the piece that still needs to be discussed and disseminated to the congregation” during the next few weeks, Rev. Maas said.

The church and school got off to a quick fundraising start. In December 2015 alone, four contributors involved with the church and/or the school pledged almost $1 million, said the pastor, who declined to identify those donors.

A recent fundraising campaign that ended April 2 also generated $400,000 in pledges, the pastor said.

“It’s pretty inspiring,” Rev. Maas said of the total amount pledged for school addition. “Both the church and the school are exceedingly proud” of the project.

Adjacent to adjacent to the rear parking lot, the two-story 10,000-square-foot addition will include five classrooms.

The project also calls for remodeling church space for two shared music rooms, a chapel and handicap-accessible restrooms.

Enrollment at the pre-school through fifth-grade school will remain at about 200 students, Rev. Maas said.

“The building will not increase that total,” he said. “It’s to fit (students) more comfortably into the space.”

Average class size won’t exceed 15 students, Rev. Maas added.

The church hopes to break ground on the project in the fall and complete in time for the 2018-19 academic year, he said.

The first phase will include construction of the new building. The second phase will include improvements to the parking lot, adding nine spaces — for a total of 37 — and a one-way student drop-off/pickup lane. 

Vehicles will continue to enter the lot from Beckham Street. The South Third Street exit will get moved to align with East Franklin Street.
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