By Kendra Evensen
POCATELLO â€” Grace Lutheran officials are hoping to give the community a chance to visualize and learn more about the private Christian high school they are planning to build in Pocatello during a special event on Saturday.
The public event will include sessions at both 5- and 6 p.m. on Saturday, and will take place at the school campus at 1350 Baldy Avenue.
Grace Lutheran Church Pastor Jonathan Dinger, who will serve as headmaster of the school, said they are planning to map out the school floor plan on the parking lot and will even set up basketball hoops and bleachers in the gym area to help people visualize what the facility will look like.
â€śSome people look at a floor plan and have no problem imagining a building, but others are baffled,â€ť Dinger said, adding that marking the floor plan on the parking lot should make it easier for everyone to picture the school.
Officials hope to break ground on the school in July and start using the building by August of 2016, Dinger said. Initially, the school will be about 28,000 square feet, 7,000 of which will be part of an unfinished basement. Eventually, they hope to have a 40,000-square-foot building that can accommodate between 200 and 300 students.
Dinger said they need about $3 million to build the school, and they have raised about half of that at this point. They will accept additional donations during Saturdayâ€™s event, but no one will be pressured into giving funds.
â€śThey donâ€™t have to give a nickel,â€ť Dinger said, but added that any donations that people want to give will be appreciated since they wonâ€™t be using any public dollars to build the school.
Grace Lutheran will likely take out a loan to help cover any costs not covered by donations in the months ahead, Dinger said.
He feels that a private high school â€” which will not only be able to accommodate hundreds of kids, but will also give them a chance to play at least some sports â€” is needed in the area.
â€śWe were approached by members of the community,â€ť Dinger said, adding that having a private high school can help attract more people and businesses to the area.
Grace Lutheran School, which already offers preschool through eighth-grade classes, is open to people of many faiths, Dinger said, and the high school will be the same way. Some of the classes will be taught by adjunct Idaho State University professors, he said.
Officials will serve root beer floats and bratwurst bites during Saturdayâ€™s event, and will have a supervised play area for children who attend with their parents, Dinger said. He hopes anyone interested in learning more about the school will attend what should be a fun event.
â€ś(We want people to) come up and have some fun,â€ť he said.