Making ‘No Little Plans’ for the future

by FRANKLIN NORTON

Director of Advancement

After the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago architect Daniel Burnham is quoted as saying the following:

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood!”

It was this spirited vision from Burnham and others that brought about the renewal of an urban wasteland devastated by flames and ash. The city of Chicago, as we know it, is grand and iconic because of big-dreaming pioneers like Burnham and others.

At the beginning of this school year, school administration was evaluating options to accommodate our rapidly growing student enrollment.

Since 2018, Covenant’s enrollment has grown from 160 students to 231 in 2022. In 2022 we opened a second Kindergarten with the intention to add one additional class section each year.

For 2023 we’ve opened an additional first grade, with a projected enrollment of about 260 students..

When all grades (K-12) offer two sections, Covenant will have capacity the serve more than 500 students, a number our current location simply can’t accommodate.

As school leadership evaluated the next best steps for our continued growth, the idea of building our own campus fealth like a faraway dream, an almost impossible vision.

One day, as a team from Covenant went out to look at a potential property, it was soon realized we would need to cut through a property to get to where we needed to go. That property happened to belong to local Marshall football legend, Red Dawson. Red and his wife, Sharon, welcomed us on to their property, and as we sat on the front porch with Red, the question was posed: “what if there was a school right there?”

The rest is history. No little plans.

On March 31, 2023, Covenant entered a purchase agreement with the Dawsons for the purchase of all 138.45 acres as well as their home, which sits on this property. This will purchase will provide space for the construction of a beautiful classical Christian school campus on the already beautiful property, which includes at least 30 flat acres – enough to support a K-12 private school campus with all major buildings and athletic fields. Once on this property, the school will never need to relocate again.

Covenant’s purchase of the land is a bankable deal, and Covenant’s financials demonstrate high levels of stability and ability to sustain this loan. Covenant operates with over 100% hard income coverage (meaning our expenses are less our income from tuition alone). We do not fundraise to operate the school but only to improve it.

At this time, Covenant is beginning a master planning process with the architectural firm, Glavé & Holmes, based out of  Richmond, VA, to design and plan the campus.

We will complete this campus in phases. In the first phase (to be completed in 2026), we will complete the necessary utilities, road, and a temporary modular campus. This modular campus will house our Upper School (students  in grades 7-12) while the Lower School remains and expands in our current rented facilities at Christ Temple Church.

We’re excited to share more with you as this story unfolds! Please pray with us for transformational donors, community support, and for Covenant to continue to pour into the lives of even more students for years and years to come.

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