Cornerstone Christian School still fully intends to build a school for kindergartners through high-school seniors in the near future.
But, while the hunt for a perfect location continues, a new intermediate home in LaPlatte is being considered for the middle and high school students.
Teri Lynn Schrag, school administrator for Cornerstone, said the school is looking into leasing the former LaPlatte Elementary School building from the Springfield Platteview Community Schools.
Due to low enrollment and cuts in state aid, Springfield Platteview had to close the LaPlatte building in 2000. Peru State College leased the space for a while but moved out in October of 2012 to focus more on online offerings.
Schrag said the location would potentially serve as a “transitional” space while Cornerstone continued to pursue purchase of their own land and a “complete, independent K-12 campus.”
“It’s very much still our goal to purchase land in Bellevue or Papillion and build an independent campus,” she said.
At present, Cornerstone has two campuses: an elementary school in the Bellevue portion of the Papillion-La Vista School District that is leased from Thanksgiving! Lutheran Church and a combination middle and high school in Bellevue Public Schools that is leased from Bellevue Christian Center.
Cornerstone began offering high-school classes three years ago, and the school will graduate its first class of seniors in 2015.
Schrag said it was a better fit to move the middle/high school to the LaPlatte building than to move the elementary school, in part because the elementary has been located inside Thanksgiving! for 13 years now.
“It’s more tied to our identity,” she said.
While Schrag said that both landlords have been very gracious hosts, she said the LaPlatte building would be good for the school because they would be the only lessees in that facility.
“It would give us more of an ability to establish our own identity,” she said.
Brett Richards, superintendent for Springfield Platteview Community Schools, said he also believes the building would be a good fit for Cornerstone.
“We already get a lot of kids from Cornerstone’s K-8 program who come to our high school,” he said.
The LaPlatte building would need a great deal of renovation, Schrag said, because it has been around since 1955. Schrag specifically mentioned subdividing the classrooms, adding lockers, updating technology, and redoing the carpet and paint.
Richards said that the building would need some things upgraded, especially in regards to its infrastructure.
“It’s still being negotiated what needs to get done and who will pay for what,” Richards said.
The potential move comes at a time of growth for Cornerstone. Enrollment at the private school is up 9 percent this year, with a total of 235 students. These students come from Bellevue and Papillion, as well as from Millard, Ralston, Omaha, Plattsmouth and Glenwood, Iowa.
Schrag said she believes parents choose to enroll their children at Cornerstone in part because of the school’s academic expectations.
“We’re also a Christian school,” she said, “so we’re able to address the whole child: academically, athletically and spiritually.”
However, neither Schrag nor Richards believes that Cornerstone will be in direct competition with Springfield Platteview Community Schools.
“Parents make a choice to have their kids in private education,” Schrag said. “It is tuition-based. Springfield Platteview is a great district.”
Richards, for his part, said a lot of ways exist to serve children, and not all of them come from public schools.
“I don’t see it as competition but as better ways to serve kids’ individual needs and parents’ desire for choices,” he said.
Negotiations between Springfield Platteview and Cornerstone are ongoing, but Richards said they hope to reach a decision in the next month or two.