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It All Adds Up: Bond Gives Boost to Whitinsville Christian Project

August 9, 2012 : Worcester Telegram & Gazette, by Bill Fortier

NORTHBRIDGE — The first floor of a $4.9 million two-story, 11,250-square-foot addition to the Whitinsville Christian School is expected to be ready for the first day of school Aug.28.

The project will include a media center with new technology, an upgraded library and large classrooms.

“They've got some work to do,” said Stephen P. Heintz, the school's director of advancement. The school serves students in pre-kindergarten through Grade 12.

The parking lot of the school was filled with construction workers yesterday striving to meet the Aug. 28 deadline for the first floor. The work includes renovation of the library on that floor.

The second floor, which Mr. Heintz said he hopes will be open by Thanksgiving, will hold three 1,000-square-foot classrooms, a video room for both instruction and editing, a conference room and office space for the director of advancement, admission coordinator, international students coordinator and administrative assistant.

The upgraded media center will emphasize technology in learning and will allow three classes to operate at the same time as well as giving students more space to work individually. The library will include reading areas, seating and conference rooms for students to work together.

“We were tremendously underserved with our library,” Mr. Heintz said. “With today's modern technology you need library space.”

He also said the new technology in the media center will be the equal of that at other schools in the region.

About 530 students attend the school, situated on a 27-acre campus. The school was founded in 1928.

The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency recently announced it had issued a $3 million bond on behalf of the school.

MassDevelopment spokesman Kelsey A. Abbruzzese said the agency provides access to tax exempt financing for projects like the one at the Whitinsville Christian School.

“The tax exempt bond that MassDevelopment issued on behalf of the Whitinsville Christian School is called a direct bank purchase,” Ms. Abbruzzese said in an email. “UniBank for Savings purchased the bond exempt from federal taxes and is able to pass those savings along to the school in the form of lower interest rate than conventional financing. The school pays back the bank.”

“WCS has a long history of providing quality education, and its library expansion will add to its appeal,” Marty Jones , MassDevelopment president and CEO said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Heintz said about $2.3 million has been raised.

“We have an incredible community here at the middle school,” he said, noting that while there have been some major donors, a considerable amount of money has come from people throughout the area who have sent children to the school.

“This library media center will provide technological advancements as well as much-needed student space and we anticipate it will become a central focus, the hub, of our continued high-quality Christian education,” school Headmaster Lance Engbers said in a MassDevelopment press release announcing the bond issuance. “Between the library, classroom, office and technology space, the strong community that we already enjoy will be enhanced. Both learning and social interaction will flourish. This project will change life at WCS.”

Consigli Construction Co. Inc. of Milford is the general contractor and Dixon Salo Architects Inc. is the architect. Neal Mitchell Associates Inc. of Northbridge is structural engineer.

© Copyright 2012 Worcester Telegram & Gazette