Clayton private school wants to move into church space

ndunn@newsobserver.comJune 2, 2014 

Crossroads Church, or XRC, at 277 Guy Road in Clayton, could soon house LifeSpring Academy, a private Christian school.

NASH DUNN — ndunn@newsobserver.com

After growing from 30 students to 150 in three years, LifeSpring Academy – a private school off of N.C. 42 – wants to share space with a Clayton church.

The school is seeking a special-use permit to move into Crossroads Church, also known as XRC, located at 277 Guy Road near Clayton Middle School.

“We have continued to expand each year,” said LifeSpring Academy co-founder Dawn Parker. “We have rented additional space at our current location each year to accommodate our needs.”

LifeSpring is a K-12 school that also offers supplemental instruction for students who are home schooled. Helping students grow in their Christian faith is also part of the school’s vision, according to its website.

Parker said the school, which opened in August 2011, makes its current home in an office building at 63 Anna Drive.

“It’s a different option for education,” Parker said. “We teach to the needs and learning styles of children, and that usually sets us apart. We tailor the learning to the student.”

Crossroads Church Pastor Michael Tabor said he heard about LifeSpring’s need for space at a community event and approached the school about a possible partnership. He said the church has more than 15,000-square feet of meeting space, audio and visual technology and an outside play area for sports and recreation.

“This is just another example of us being able to partner and meet the need for this community,” Tabor said, noting other past and ongoing partnerships with the Partnership for Children of Johnston County, Habitat for Humanity, Scout troops and Clayton Middle School.

But before that partnership can come about, the school needs a special-use permit to operate in the church, and XRC’s property needs a zoning change. The Clayton Planning Board last week recommended the Town Council approve both items.

Tabor said the church and the school would be separate entities, with XRC leasing its building to LifeSpring.

Town Planner Emily Beddingfield said the church and school would use the space at different times. In an effort to ease traffic, the school would release students at different times than nearby Clayton Middle. However, if enrollment exceeded 150 students, the town would require a traffic-impact analysis, she said.

Parker said the school would not keep its lease on Anna Drive.

The Town Council is expected to consider the special-use permit and rezoning requests in June.

Bobbi Roe, a LifeSpring co-founder, told planning board members that the church’s children’s wing is already up to code. In addition, the church’s playground, which LifeSpring’s K-5 students would use, is fenced in and also meets local and state requirements.

“It’s truly a blessing that we have met each other,” Roe said.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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