First Presbyterian Day School planning major expansion; new gym and 10 classrooms

By ANTHONY WARREN,

A new gym and 10 new classrooms are on the horizon for First Presbyterian Day School (FPDS), as part of a major expansion expected to get under way early next summer.

The school announced the plans recently, in a letter to parents.

“This project was brought before the congregation after being unanimously approved by church leadership,” said FPDS Head of School Brian Smith. “We are thankful that God has continued to bless and expand our kingdom school.”

The 28,000-square-foot project will include completely reconstructing the gym and adding 10 classrooms for day school use.

Among features, the new gym will have staging at one end, for use as a school auditorium or assembly area.

“The gymnasium was built over 40 years ago and has outlived its useful life,” Smith explained.

He said the school has also seen increased enrollment in recent years, related to the addition of a preschool program and the expansion of FPDS’ Dyslexia Immersion Program.

Currently, the school has 687 students.

To cut costs, church leaders decided to build the classrooms along with the new gym, rather than having to separate projects.

The new classrooms will serve fifth and sixth graders and can accommodate between 170 and 200 students, he said.

“The gymnasium is a multi-use facility for both the day school and the church. Classrooms would be used primarily by the day school but would be available to the church as needed,” Smith said.

The facility will be located in the same footprint of the current gym, with the new classrooms located around it on the floor above.

Demolition will begin May or June of 2020. Officials hope to complete the project by the summer of 2021.

The project will be funded by a capital campaign, per an outside consultant’s recommendations.

Said Smith, “The feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of taking the step to begin a capital campaign to secure funds for the project.” 

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Cheering for Jackson Prep this year are (from left, back) Eliza Hollingsworth, Margaret Dye, Livi Mathews, Addy Katherine Allen, Rosemary McClintock, Kennedy Cleveland, Rachel Rutledge, Mari Lampt