Future campus will offer public recreation area this summer
Construction of a new church and school facility for Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist Christian Academy has been put on hold, but the church is determined to use its vacant Mint Hill property soon for recreation. And officials are offering to allow the public to use the land, too.
The new campus will be located on nearly 23 acres off Allen Black Road near Interstate 485, which the church purchased in 1998. But construction can’t start until the church sells property at 920 N. Sharon Amity Road, in Charlotte.
Until then, the church is seeking other avenues to use the land. Church leaders plan to clear 1 acre by mid-July to be used for recreational purposes, primarily for youth groups.
Plans for the area include a pole barn style shelter, a fire pit, picnic shelters and walking trails, Associate Pastor David Graham said. Church officials hope to make the land available to Scout troops for meetings, as well as members of the public wanting to use the picnic areas and walking trails.
The church is working with Mint Hill to get permission for the shelter, which Graham expects will cost less than $5,000. Graham said the church has a member familiar with stonework who will construct the fire pit and the area already has some walking trails. He hopes to have all trails complete by mid-July.
“If the trails are done by then, and if (the public) would like to use those trails, that’s fine with us,” he said. “They just need to ask for permission.”
The church has been planning to relocate for more than a decade. Although the current facility – built in 1973 – is usable and in good condition, the growing congregation and increasing number of students at the school generated the need for a new facility.
“We have a nice facility, but (parking) seems to be the obstacle,” Graham said. “Right now we are improving the present facility. As far as parking goes, we’re working on that, but hopefully the current property will be sold soon.”
Another challenge, Graham said, concerns water and sewer. He said they’re hoping a new sewer system will be installed for the entire Goose Creek basin that the church will share with the future Bridges at Mint Hill mall, to be built nearby on Lawyers Road near I-485.
“You would not believe the engineering requirements to put a water system in for a school,” he said. “That (Goose Creek basin system) would be a huge, huge blessing for us.”
Graham said the church plans to start construction of the school immediately after selling the Charlotte property. The new school will have additional education space that will allow the maximum capacity to increase from 110 to 150 students and include 10th-graders as well as the kindergarten to ninth grade students already attending.
The proposed $6.5 million, 49,600-square-foot facility will house a worship center, gymnasium, cafeteria and classrooms for the school. In addition, the church also plans to use part of the property for soccer and baseball fields, which were not a possibility in the past due to the topography of the current campus. The church also will have the ability to host events in the gymnasium and cafeteria while closing the rest of the facility.
Why Mint Hill? More than one-third of the church’s congregation, which includes Cambodian and Ghanaian worshipers who attend services in their native languages, come from the Matthews-Mint Hill area, leaders say.
“We knew, years ago, that we wanted to get closer to (I-485),” Lloyd Johnson, a church member and head of the building committee, said previously. “Our church is not community-based. It draws from a larger area.”