SCA plans return to First Baptist Church Suffolk
Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Suffolk Christian Academy plans to move its upper school students to First Baptist Church Suffolk, pending approval of a conditional use permit.
The Planning Commission, by a 7-0 vote, gave its endorsement of the permit following a public hearing. City Council will hold a public hearing on the permit request July 20.
Pending permit approval, SCA will lease space from First Baptist Church, at 237 N. Main St., for its upper school students, spanning grades six through 12 beginning with the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. Students return to school Aug. 24, while staff is scheduled to report Aug. 15. The school currently operates from Pre-K3 through 12th grade at its campus at Southside Baptist Church at 917 Carolina Road. First Baptist Church Suffolk is a sponsoring partner of the school, and, seven years ago, made renovations to the building in which the school previously operated with the understanding that the school would return to the campus.
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The school will use 7,691 square feet of the church’s 55,532 square feet, including 12 classrooms, four resource rooms, a music room, six offices, a gym, a kitchen, a sanctuary and five storage areas. There are currently 89 upper school students and 20 staff members, including teachers, office personnel and administrative employees, and a narrative of the permit request states that the downtown facility gives the school room for growth.
The classroom space will primarily be on the second floor of the church’s Traylor Building, the basement of the Goodwin Building and the office area previously used by the First Baptist Church Weekday Preschool, which no longer operates. SCA will also use two classrooms in the basement of the church’s Family Life Center and the church sanctuary for chapel on Thursdays. The upper school’s hours are 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Student drivers will park in the 20 spaces behind the church, and student drop-offs and pickups will take place there. SCA staff will use the parking lot across from the church on Main Street and cross via a crosswalk.
The school had operated at the church for 26 years before First Baptist began renovations in 2014. It was initially known as First Baptist Christian School when it was established in 1988 following the expansion of the church’s weekday school ministry to include first through third grades.
By 2005, the school had expanded to serve students up through eighth grade and in 2010, the school celebrated its first graduating class. In December 2012, the school incorporated — in partnership with Southside Baptist Church, Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, Open Door Church and First Baptist Church.
There are no plans for any further renovations or building expansion.