Egg Harbor Township planners approved a proposed expansion of Atlantic Christian School on Monday that will include six modular buildings, new athletic facilities, additional parking and a 30-foot lighthouse.
Chief School Administrator Rebecca Stiegel said the school has grown steadily since its permanent campus opened on 37 acres of land off Zion Road in 2004. Established in 1971, the school previously leased space at several locations across the county.
“We are very excited about the expansion being provided by a donor at no cost to the school,” she said.
That donor, Ralph Clayton, owner of Clayton’s Self Storage and Clayton Construction, said he expects the expansion to cost about $250,000.
Clayton said the Egg Harbor Township Board of Education had agreed to donate the modular classrooms — which were used while construction was completed on the high school — with the stipulation that he would pay to transport them to the new site. He will also pay for installation of batting cages and a new soccer field on site.
“I share the same beliefs the school does, and they just do a fabulous job there,” he said. “It’s just a great school ... and a worthwhile charity.”
Stiegel said 426 students are enrolled at the school, in addition to 31 children in the infant and toddler care program that started last year.
“It’s full now and we anticipate a waiting list for next year,” she said.
The school’s attorney, Stephen Nehmad, said the design will include a new bus loop to service the six modular buildings, each with two classrooms, fencing and landscaping to buffer the soccer field and parking lot from Zion Road and a 30-foot-high decorative lighthouse similar to the school’s logo.
In approving the amended final major site plan, the Planning Board approved a number of waivers, including the need for a community impact and environmental impact statement; as well as a performance guaranty typically required of organizations submitting applications.
“Atlantic Christian School has been a great benefit and a great service to Egg Harbor Township,” said Committeeman Joe Cafero, who served as an alternate board member in place of Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough. “This (means) more improvements.”
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