If the current plan moves forward, Wellington will lose a valuable part of its community later this year when the doors to the longstanding Wellington Christian School are shut.
While it will be a devastating loss to the Wellington Christian School families who are now displaced, the closing of the school, along with a possible sale of the property, mean new questions and concerns for surrounding residents in a densely populated section of central Wellington.
Wellington Christian School has been a pillar of the community for more than 30 years and is the only Christian school in the village. Late last year the school community was rocked by the news that its 10-year-old high school might close. But then, last week, parents were informed that Wellington Christian School would soon be closing in its entirety, meaning that approximately 500 students will have to start at a new school next year.
Parents are understandably upset. The tight-knit Wellington Christian School community has seen children become parents and parents become grandparents as generations of families passed through those hallways. For many students and families, Wellington Christian School is the only school they’ve ever known.
Earlier this week, Wellington Presbyterian Church leaders — who govern the school — informed parents that a $9 million offer was made on the property, though the potential buyer has not been named. This raises questions not only for the school families, but also for the surrounding community.
Years ago, when the church decided to add a high school, some neighbors fought the decision. As the property is currently zoned for an institution, such as a church or school, it is unlikely neighbors will want to see additional development on the site.
Right now, the best-case scenario is that another similar institution buys the property, perhaps providing a location for Wellington Christian School students to continue on the same path with their education. At the very least, retaining the site for education and/or another congregation would be sure to put nearby residents’ minds to rest.
While it is a shame to see the school close and the church relocate, facing a new project from a developer capitalizing on the church’s bad financial situation could make it worse.
We applaud other local organizations for reaching out to the Wellington Christian School community. It’s important that the community come together for comfort and solace in these times of uncertainty, but it’s also important to ask questions and seek answers. This is truly a loss for the community, and if there is a chance the school could be saved, we hope it comes to light in time.