A church’s plan to expand could also help Clark-Pleasant prepare to build its next elementary school through a partnership the church and school district are considering.
Harvest Bible Chapel has been meeting at Clark-Pleasant Middle School since the church first formed a local fellowship in 2015. Now, with significant growth in its membership, the church is looking to build a permanent home.
One potential home is on land north of the middle school that the school district owns.
School officials are considering selling the land to the church for a discounted price — possibly $100 per acre — as part of a partnership.
Under that partnership, the church would do site work, including drainage plans, utilities and infrastructure, that could be used by both the church and the school district for a new elementary school, Clark-Pleasant Superintendent Patrick Spray said. School officials have said a new elementary school would be needed in the coming years due to continued growth, and the school district owns 40 acres of land near the middle school, off Worthsville Road, west of Interstate 65.
No agreements have been made yet, and both sides are exploring the option, Spray and Harvest Bible Chapel senior pastor Brock Graham said.
The property is large enough for both the church and the 20 acres needed for a new school, Spray said. The school district could benefit by selling the property to a developer or business, who would pay taxes on the land and development, but they can also benefit from the partnership with the church, he said.
The details of any agreement would still need to be worked out, but what school and church officials have been discussing is a discounted price for the land, with the agreement that the church would do site work for the full 40-acre property, not just where the church would go, Spray said.
That could include studies for how large and deep a retention pond would need to be and then building one to suit both the church and school, running utilities to the site for both developments and access roads that would reach both the church and school, Spray said.
“Our end goal is to have a good neighbor, but also to help potentially offset or avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars when we have to put an elementary on that site,” Spray said.
Another idea would be for the school to use the church’s sanctuary for performances, such as by the high school choir and drama productions, since the high school lacks an up-to-date performing arts center, he said.
“It’s just working together to share,” Spray said.
The church’s goal to benefit the community by building a facility that can be used more than just a few hours every weekend for services, Graham said.
The church needs a permanent home, since set up and tear down at the middle school each week takes hours and since attendance has grown from a founding base of about 70 to more than 600 now attending weekly services, he said.
Church officials knew they needed new space and knew a new school was going to be needed in the future, so they started conversations with Clark-Pleasant officials months ago, he said.
“We are really passionate, if we put up a facility in the community, we really want our facility to be a blessing to the community,” Graham said.