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Supt. Cy Smith, center, welcomes guests to Mansfield Christian School's 60th Anniversary Banquet Saturday night. 

MANSFIELD -- Superintendent Cy Smith believes the best is yet to come for Mansfield Christian School. 

The faith-based institution celebrated its 60th year Saturday night with a banquet at the Mid-Ohio Conference Center.

In a room full of alumni, parents and staff, Smith shared the beginnings of a master plan to expand the school's educational programming and ministry impact.

The plan is still in the developmental stages, but Smith called it one of the most ambitious and comprehensive campaigns in the school's history. It includes expanding the school's campus with a new multipurpose building, creating career-focused paths for high school students and eliminating current debt.

"When I look back, I can't help but see how faithful God was to meet our every need and direct our every step," he said. "He honored the obedience, the courage and the conviction of our people by faithfully answering prayers and blessing us time and time again, even when we didn't deserve it, I'm sure.

"So we have no reason to doubt that God will be faithful as we envision the future." 

A new building would include a multipurpose auditorium, fine arts, gymnasium and chapel space. The space would include an up-to-date sound system, lighting and video equipment.

"We host every daily event including chapels in either the cafeteria or the gym," Smith said. "We do the best we can, but neither venue was designed to achieve all that we’re asking them to do." 

Smith said he hopes the building can be a place where families and the community can attend events like concerts, plays, orientations and commencement.

The school has plenty of room to expand. The school purchased 40 acres of adjoining land from Therm-O-Disc this summer, growing its campus to 90 acres in total.

Meanwhile, enrollment is up 30 percent over the last two years. The school currently has about 650 K-12 students and recently opened a daycare center.

School board President Jason Guilliams said having a school that integrates a biblical worldview into its a curriculum meets a unique need in the community.

"I would just encourage the community to do a little research and understand what Mansfield Christian offers, not only within the walls of the school but also the impact that it has on the community," he said. "I'm confident that they'll be pleasantly surprised with what they uncover."

New high school programs called "Schools of Distinction" would focus on career preparation while strengthening the school's connection to the community.

"We want to expand service learning opportunities and community partnerships by creating a unique two-year program for high school students who choose to focus on careers in STEM, medicine, ministry and business called the schools of distinction," Smith said.

The program would include specialized courses, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships and experiential learning opportunities.

"These fields are the most common academic majors of our students," Smith added. "We're confident that such meaningful connections will benefit both local employers and our students over time."

Leaders at Mansfield Christian also hope to create a district model that would allow for the institution to partner with other, smaller faith-based schools that may be struggling with enrollment or operating costs.

"We can leverage the scale of Mansfield Christian and the financial viability of Mansfield Christian to help to help support those smaller schools," Guilliams said. "It may lead toward being at a centralized high school at Mansfield Christian or it could end up being little mini districts around the area."

The idea may also includes school plants. According to Guilliams, some neighboring counties don't have Christian school options within a reasonable driving distance.

"To be able to look at some of those communities where there's need and provide an opportunity for Christian education would be great," he said.

Guilliams said the school is conducting interviews with stakeholders and feasibility studies to iron out the details of the master plan.

"It's very exciting to share with the alumni community and certainly something that we've had a lot of prayerful consideration in developing," Guilliams said. "We kind of know the vision of where we want to go, but it'll be the community members and all the key constituents that will begin to shape out the finality of the plan as it moves forward to more of a public setting."

The school also inducted three staff members and two alumni into the schools honorary "Hall of Flames." This year's inductees included Linda Hoeflich, David Nitzsche, Cal Packard, Albert Roggio and Amber Moen (Wiers).

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Staff reporter focused on education and features. Clear Fork alumna. Always looking for a chance to practice my Spanish. You can reach me at katie@richlandsource.com