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Albemarle Council approves conditional use permits for private Christian school, SCCM

The Albemarle City Council approved two conditional use permits last week involving a change of location for a private Christian school and the installation of a donation bin for Stanly Community Christian Ministry.

The first will let Heritage Classical Academy, an aspiring K-12, private Christian school, transition from its current location at The Gathering in downtown Albemarle to North Albemarle Baptist Church on Park Ridge Road near Albemarle High School for the upcoming school year.

“We are here tonight because God has blessed us with an exceptional opportunity to lease space from North Albemarle Baptist Church,” Jason Phibbs, the school’s co-founder and board president, told council. “Doing so would provide our school with an affordable, high-quality facility that is centrally located near downtown Albemarle.”

The school finished its first kindergarten class in May, Phibbs said, and plans to add first grade this upcoming school year followed by a new grade level each successive year.

“That just allows us to control and sustain the growth as we go,” he said.

HCA had 13 kindergarten students this year and Phibbs said he expects to have a similar number this fall.

The school’s classes and lunch will be on the first floor of the church’s education building. HCA families will be able to enter and exit for pick-up and drop off on Mountain Creek Road to minimize any potential congestion.

According to the school’s website, a classical model of education involves students in kindergarten through sixth grade learning about grammar; students in seventh through ninth grade learning about logic; and students in 10th through 12th grade learning about rhetoric.

The other conditional use permit approved by council allows Stanly Community Christian Ministry to establish a 8 foot by 20 foot donation bin along the property line between 1324 and 1328 E. Main St. The request for the permit was made by SCCM’s Clothing Closet.

SCCM has already obtained an easement agreement with the property owner of 1328 E. Main St.

SCCM Executive Director Heather Kilde told council the establishment of a donation bin, which would be locked and secure, would help decrease the need for police involvement in the area. So far in 2021, there have been 29 police calls regarding theft of donations at the Clothing Closet, Kilde said.

The bin would be emptied regularly by SCCM staff and it would deter the public from placing donated items on the sidewalk, Kilde said. The donation bin would primarily be used when the Clothing Closet is closed.

Kilde noted that artwork would be completed on the donation bin “to be warm and welcoming to our neighborhood.”

The clothing closet accounts for 60 percent of SCCM’s annual revenue, Kilde said, noting donations are either sold at the closet or given away to people in need.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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