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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Jul. 20, 2017 3 years ago

Orangewood Christian School renovating gym, cafeteria and media center

Orangewood Christian School is in the process of renovating several of its facilities this summer at their Upper and Lower Schools.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Big changes are underway at Orangewood Christian School — and students of all ages will reap the benefits.
The school is moving forward on multiple renovation projects this summer at the school’s Upper and Lower campuses. Seventh- through 12th-grade students at the upper campus can expect a new cafeteria with new floors, tables, chairs, kitchen upgrades and a fountain for reusable water bottles.
There’s Upper School gym improvements on the way, including a new bleacher system with padded seats and an upgrade to the acoustics — which also will benefit Orangewood Church, which has its services in the gym.
The basketball team will enjoy a spiffy hardwood floor that’s been repainted — bearing the Orangewood Ram logo instead of the Orangewood “O.”
The work is tentatively set for completion in August — in time for the new school year.
“We’ve been good stewards of our finances and we’re now looking to grow Orangewood — the school and the church,” Marketing and Communications Manager Jennifer Fowler said. “We knew it was time to make the improvements so that we can make our campus the best that it can be for our current families and future families.”
The Upper School also will add a “Ramshack” — a snack bar, ticket booth and school store near the football field that will include bathrooms and a back patio where fans can watch the game. Orangewood’s baseball team is getting some upgrades, too, with new turf getting laid down on their baseball diamond’s infield and upgraded, roofed batting cages planned for a spot near the home team dugout.
Athletic Director David Pitts said the improvements will go a long way toward helping athletes do their best and attracting new athletes to their programs.
“It’s obviously desirable to have improvements in the facilities,” he said. “The athletes benefit practice-wise as we make constant improvements on campus.”
“There’s the element of we want to be good hosts as well,” Director of Development Garland Gould said. “That was a big thing with the Ramshack. When people come here to visit, we want them to have a good experience.”
Orangewood’s pre-K through sixth-grade students will enjoy a renovated media center at the Lower School, complete with a new circulation desk, new computers, remodeled walls, new lighting, repainting, and new tables that flip up into whiteboards.
All that work is tentatively set for completion in the fall, Gould said.
“The idea behind that is to bring it more in line with allowing our students to be more creative and give them a better space to read, a better space to collaborate on a project, and a better space to be creative from a fine arts perspective,” Gould said. “That media center will be able to capture all of that for us.”
While there’s plenty of construction and renovation happening at the school’s physical campus, Fowler said Orangewood’s academic programs have never been better.
Orangewood students are thriving, she said. This year Orangewood Christian School administered 71 AP exams. There was a 76% pass rate overall; a 100% pass rate in studio art, European history and calculus AB (scoring 3 or higher); and an 84% pass rate in English literature and United States history (scoring 3 or higher).
There may be even more to look forward to at the Lower School campus moving forward, Gould said. Plans are in place, and an architect has been hired for a new gymnasium and education building — allowing them to expand by 150 to 200 students.
“We are hopeful to attract more students so we can do more of what we do,” Gould said.

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.


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