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‘So much space’
Students, staff see change on Horizon
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Horizon Christian Academy’s new campus is on Canton Highway about a mile northwest of downtown Cumming. - photo by Jim Dean
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* To learn more about Horizon Christian Academy, contact (678) 947-3583 or www.horizonchristian.org.

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* Private school has new leader.

Students at one of Forsyth County’s largest private schools will have a little more wiggle room when they return to class in August.

Horizon Christian Academy is finishing a new campus on Canton Highway, which will house the school’s seventh through 12th grade students.

That’s welcome news for a school that has grown from 13 students, when it opened in 2000, to more than 300 this year.

Heather Marshall, Horizon’s managing director, said the new campus features a 11,000-square-foot, two-story classroom wing with a full science lab and 12 classrooms, as well as an indoor soccer field.

The opening of the Canton Highway facility will also free up space for students in kindergarten through sixth grade at the school’s Freedom Parkway campus.

“The reaction has been nothing but positive from all the parents because it opens up so much space,” Marshall said.

Due to that space, Marshall said students will be able to take part in football, band and string ensemble programs for the first time.

“That’s thrilling for the student body,” she said.

She said the school’s athletic booster club has raised more than enough money for new football uniforms and equipment. The new team will practice at Bennett Park on Burruss Mill Road.

The school is a member of the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama Athletic Association.

In addition to the new athletic and band programs, Marshall said Horizon students also will be able to take advantage of a new indoor soccer program, chorus and guitar and keyboarding programs.

In addition, the school has expanded its academic offerings, bringing its high school Advanced Placement course total to seven. A new zoology course for middle school students also will be offered this year.

Jodi Michaud, principal of the Freedom Parkway campus, said the move will also be good for her students.

“Early childhood classes have been in very small classrooms,” she said. “Now we’ll have plenty of room for the students to do more physical activities, which is good to keep younger children engaged.

“Now we’ll have more than enough space. This nearly doubles our capacities.”

Melanie Godwin, principal of the Canton Highway campus, said she and her staff are “extremely excited” about the new facility.

“We feel very blessed to get this new opportunity for growth,” she said. “But we are sorry to be separated from our K-6 family.”

Marshall said the separation is the only drawback to the new campus, but she and staff members plan to work to maintain the school’s “family feel.”

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is the relationship we [staff] have with our parents and the relationship our parents have with each other. We’re like a family,” she said.

“We don’t want to lose that closeness and the relationship we have with being on one campus. We’re working on how to maintain that closeness.”

Despite the separation, she added, students at all grade levels will continue to take part in unique community service and spiritual growth activities throughout the year.

“No matter what, our focus will always be on our students. We won’t lose site of the child and their individual growth and development.”

E-mail Crystal Ledford at crystalledford@forsythnews.com.