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Bursting at the seams

Nashville Christian School's rapid growth has prompted the construction of a new Events Center

The Nashville Christian School campus is wedged between Charlotte Pike and Sawyer Brown Road. But the presence of two major thoroughfares cannot contain the school’s sphere of influence. For instance, NCS boasts a 100 percent acceptance rate for graduates applying to a four-year college or university and its athletic teams are among the most competitive in its class.

Still, the confines can feel a bit constraining to a school community consisting of nearly 900 students (preschool to grade 12), more than 100 faculty and staff, and thousands of alumni and their families.

That’s why this summer, for the first time in a long time, major construction is underway on its Bellevue campus.

Last month, ground was broken for a new, campus Event Center. Slated to open in the fall of 2024, the as-yet-unnamed facility will feature a 1,600-seat arena that will serve as home to Eagles basketball and volleyball teams as well as major activities like commencement ceremonies and the annual Thanksgiving celebration. The increased capacity, which will be about 1,000 greater than the existing gym, will enable NCS to host post-season athletic events.

According to NCS athletic director Ronnie Seigenthaler, the new facility is not a “want” but a “need.”

“The school has been blessed with athletic success - teams and individuals - that have made us proud, but we have outgrown our current facility,” says Seigenthaler. “We’ve been great stewards of what we have and will continue to be, but this capital project is an absolute need.

“The conversation of trying to best determine how we go about it has probably gone on anywhere from five to seven years. We were very intentional about a campaign path, making sure we were doing it correctly with our stakeholders’ best interests in mind. People who recognize that need have gotten on board and now it’s full steam ahead in terms of seeing it launched, executed and completed.”

While the arena component is the centerpiece, the Event Center will also feature new varsity locker rooms, coach's offices, an athletic training room, concession stands and the school bookstore.

In addition, it allows NCS to underscore Seigenthaler’s words about being good stewards of what’s already in place. For example, space in the current auxiliary gym will be converted into 11 new classrooms and a Student Academic Success Center that will connect the elementary and middle schools to the high school, bringing the entire student body “under one roof” for the first time.

“Any time you have something shiny and new, it’s exciting and it’s evidence that you’re making progress,” says director of operations, Jeff Brothers. “It is part of being dynamic.”

He also says that brick-and-mortar assets, like the Event Center, send a tangible message that the school is growing, improving and getting better. “New construction makes the light shine a little brighter,” he says. “National statistics show that, in general, it leads to about a 20 percent increase in enrollment.”

Brothers, who also serves as head football coach, says that the timing for the Event Center is right because it enables the school to capitalize on recent athletics success. One needs to look no further than his own program for proof.

In 13 years at NCS, Brothers has compiled a record of 128-41. He’s led the Eagles to the postseason every year, won one title (2015) and sent dozens of players on to play at the collegiate level.

“Every year is a new team with new components,” says Brothers. “Every team has its own identity and obstacles to overcome. Leadership changes because seniors graduate. However, our goal every year is to play for the state championship. It’s a joy watching kids grow and seeing their leadership develop. There’s no secret; it requires a strong work ethic but the work is never really complete. You always have to have that carrot out there in front of them.”

Expectations remain high this fall as NCS welcomes back quarterback Jared Curtis who, as a freshman, led the Eagles to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the state championship game. The 6-2 sophomore already has received scholarship offers from many of the biggest brands in college football, including Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee.

“He deserves every bit of the attention he is getting,” says Brothers. “Not only has he played well but he handles the attention and expectations with maturity. He’s a confident kid but he is still the same guy we’ve known and still hangs out with the same friends. He’s the same guy he was, devoted to his teammates and his teams. He’s just a little busier now.

“But like so many others, he’s the answer to a great question: Can you get there from NCS? The answer is ‘yes,’ you can get from here to wherever you want to go.”

NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

2023 Varsity Football Schedule

August

Friday 18 at Davidson Academy

Friday 25 Prince Avenue Christian School (at UTC-Chattanooga)

September

Friday 1 Battle Ground Academy

Friday 15 Mount Juliet Christian Academy

Friday 22 at Grace Christian Academy - Franklin

Friday 29 at Goodpasture Christian School

October

Friday 6  Columbia Academy

Friday 13 at Fayetteville

Friday 20 at Clarksville Academy

Thursday 26 at Donelson Christian Academy

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