YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Enrollment at Valley Christian School from preschool through 12th grade has tripled in ten years. There is no room left to take any more students, so those running Valley Christian are looking to expand using Youngstown’s former South High School.
Valley Christian School on Southern Boulevard was once Bancroft School. It was built in 1926 but renovations have given it a clean look. However, enrollment has outgrown the building and the school is forced to use trailers to make up for the lack of space.
One possible expansion plan being seriously considered is buying the former South High School on Market Street.
“South High School offers an opportunity to quickly move some classrooms in. Not this year, but for the ’17 school year,” said Valley Christian President Mike Pecchia.
Pecchia says the football team will practice this season on South’s football field, with the plan being to renovate the stadium and make it Valley Christian’s home field.
South Fieldhouse would also be part of the purchase, though it is in bad shape and will need about $1.5 million in repairs.
Surprisingly, the old high school building is in good shape.
“Nice classroom sizes, they still have a lot of equipment in there,” Pecchia said. “Better shape than you’d think for how old it is, and it’s been vacant for a year.”
The biggest hold up to the expansion plan is money. It will take large donations to make the $2 to $3 million project happen.
“We’ve got some people in the area, when we talk to them about the project, they’re really excited because there’s a lot of history down there with Mooney’s football field and old South High School,” Pecchia said. “There’s a lot of tradition and history down there that we’re looking to maybe bringing back for Valley Christian School, so I’m getting some people interested in helping us.”
Pecchia says Valley Christian has decided to commit itself to Youngstown, which is why they don’t want a new building somewhere else. He has had options to build in the suburbs but 70 percent of the school’s students live in Youngstown, so that’s where the school wants to stay.