Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Christian School begins new year with $3.4 million addition

ST. PETERSBURG

The word of the week was "Faithful." On a first-grade classroom wall in the new $3.4 million building on the St. Petersburg Christian School campus, it embodied an unabashedly evangelical message.

Bible is a core class. Students pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, to the Christian flag and to the Bible. Every class starts with prayer. Teachers, each with "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," according to school material, meet several times a week to pray.

And as the 41-year-old school prepared to begin the academic year with a new building on its campus at 2021 62nd Ave. N, the school's leader spoke of God's role in bringing it to pass.

Plans for the three-story structure date back six years, Steve Knellinger said. Back then, the estimated cost was $5.4 million. The new facility, though, completed over the summer with 22 classrooms, an industrial kitchen, cafeteria, science lab and elevators that students get to ride as a birthday treat, came in $2 million less.

The St. Petersburg Christian School project, Knellinger said, benefited from a stagnant construction industry, low interest rates and God's timing.

"It's truly God's blessing," he said. "One of the verses we do use is, 'A man's heart plans his way, but God determines his steps.' "

Last week, Knellinger and registrar Traci Noble gave a tour of the new building as workers added finishing touches inside and out. The school, a ministry of Suncoast Cathedral, an Assemblies of God congregation, goes from preschool to eighth grade and has 533 students. Tuition ranges from $7,120 for kindergarten to close to $8,200 for upper grades.

Its new 31,750-square-foot building, which replaced a two-story facility and two portables, is providing much-needed space, Knellinger said.

"We were out of classrooms completely," he said, adding that fifth-graders had to be housed across the street at Suncoast Cathedral for two years. "Then we brought them over here and we really maxed out our room."

With the new facility complete, the former middle school building will continue to be used for some classes, including art and music, and provide space for a cafeteria dedicated to middle school students. Kindergarteners will still meet in a separate building that has been in use since 2006, while preschool classes will continue across the street at Suncoast Cathedral.

The school is proud of its racially and ethnically diverse student body.

"I'd say we're probably one of the most diverse private schools in town," Noble said, adding that students represent about 60 churches and travel from throughout St. Petersburg, Tierra Verde, Largo and Clearwater to attend.

It's one of the qualities that Sheri Goldberg, who is Catholic, likes. Her son, Kyle, is in seventh grade, and daughter, Kayla, fifth grade. "They are meeting all different kinds of people," she said.

The school feels "like you're home when you are there," she said. "Great education and a good Christian environment, too."

"One of the things we are most proud of is our Blue Ribbon status," said Knellinger, noting that St. Cecelia's Interparochial School in Clearwater is the only other school in Pinellas County with the U.S. Department of Education recognition.

With classes about to start today, the campus bustled with activity last week as families moved boxes, rolled furniture and helped teachers put classrooms in order.

Even with more than 100 desks and chairs yet to arrive, Knellinger was relaxed.

"We're okay with that," he said, adding that the old desks would be pulled into service if delivery was delayed.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283.

St. Petersburg Christian School begins new year with $3.4 million addition 08/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Team begins work to exhume Salvador Dali's body for paternity test

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — A forensic team on Thursday entered the Salvador Dali museum in northeastern Spain where the surrealist artist's remains are due to be exhumed to settle a paternity claim brought by a 61- year-old woman.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. Work has begun to exhume his body for a parternity test. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  2. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  3. Spring Hill couple arrested on drug charges after months-long investigation

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill couple was arrested Wednesday on several drug charges after a months-long investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

    Hernando County Sheriff's Office detectives stand behind 24 pounds of marijuana seized by the agency during a drug bust this week. [Photo by Megan Reeves]
  4. New Pinellas Trail stretch draws raves at opening

    Human Interest

    EAST LAKE — Mike Siebel bikes the Pinellas Trail four days a week and loops up and down the Suncoast Trail at least a couple times every year. A 68-year-old cycling diehard, he was so eager for the opening of the 5-mile segment extending the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco border that he would often drive across …

    Cyclists wait for the official opening of the Pinellas Trail's newest segment. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  5. Authorities recover body of missing boater in Lake Thonotosassa

    Accidents

    THONOTOSASSA — Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of a 44-year-old Plantation man who went missing while boating on Lake Thonotosassa.