Zion Lutheran School eyeing possible expansion

By Matt Bunke, Community Editor

Zion Lutheran School in Mayer is running out of space, but for a small-town Lutheran School, that’s the kind of problem that School Administrator Kris Thomas likes to see.

The school, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has seen its enrollment grow between 10 and 15 percent over the last four years. Some of the lower grades now have so many students that the school is hoping to expand later this year with the addition of four new classrooms on the north side of the school.

"Across the nation, most Lutheran schools are declining in enrollment," Thomas said, who noted that she is very excited to be defying that trend. "We’re celebrating our100-year anniversary as a school, so there’s a lot going on and a lot of things to be thankful for."

The school’s requests for several variances that would allow it to build an addition on the north side of the school were granted by the Mayer City Council on June 25. However, the project is still contingent on the school meeting its fundraising goals by the end of summer. If is successful in raising enough funds, the project is expected to commence immediately and be finished as soon as January.

"We’re looking at a quick project if everything comes together," Thomas said.

The need for expansion at Zion has been necessitated by rapid growth at the lower grade levels, as well as its planned transition to all-day kindergarten. The combined first- and second-grade class, for instance, has 27 students this year. The new classrooms would allow that class, and potentially others as well, to be separated into two separate classes. Other potential uses for the new classrooms include a computer lab and a room for the church congregation’s youth group.

"The expansion is needed because we’ve been blessed over the last four years by having very large younger classrooms," Thomas said. "Our space needs are just at a point where we need larger classrooms."