Valley Lutheran High School has launched an exciting campaign to raise money for student aid, grow its endowment fund, and renovate and add to its existing building. “We are about to take some steps that are going to place Valley Lutheran on a path for the next 40 years,” Executive Director Dr. John Brandt told attendees at the launch celebration Jan. 18 at Saginaw Valley State University. “You’ve all been part of this in one way or another, and we need to have you be part of this as we move forward.”
The goal of the Growing Campaign is to raise $10 million, of which $5.7 million has already been raised. This has been achieved during the “quiet” period of the campaign that started in July of 2015.
“This campaign will provide the space and resources needed to continue to be a school on the leading edge of education,” Brandt said. “Things change and our kids have different needs as their faith is being nurtured today than it did then. And they have different needs in the classroom as today we prepare kids for careers that don’t exist yet.” There are three areas highlighted in the building portion of the campaign: the arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and athletics. “We looked at our facility and there are some things we need to do to take it to the next level,” Brandt said. “Not only in the next generation, but we’d love to do this for our students today.”
Lindsay Mueller, Director of Guidance and Instrumental Music, knows firsthand that Valley has outgrown its current music room. “Our music ensembles are busting at the seams in the current room,” Mueller said. “In the new music room, they’re doing a lot of things to make that room acoustically sound.” The new room will be one-third larger in size with technology to amplify the sound six-fold. “It means a great deal for the safety of our students and their hearing,” Mueller said. “We can also control the sound in the room better to match when they’re on stage.”
Next to the music room will be a visual art room with an abundance of natural light. More space means stations can be set up where multiple projects can happen at one time.
Four new science labs will make up a science wing on the east side of the campus. Doug Guenther, the Chair of the Science Department, has been teaching at Valley for 33 years. He once was the only science teacher but has seen that grow to four faculty members teaching the subject. “When you teach long enough, you see trends,” Guenther said. “One we’ve seen in science is growth in the excitement our students have for these classes. When I first started teaching, it was common for students to take two to three years of science. We have kids right now that are going to be graduating with seven and eight years of science. We call it the doubling factor.” All the new science classrooms will have tables in the front and a designated lab area in the back.
The athletic facilities will also see improvements. A new weight room/training center and remodeled locker rooms are all part of the plan. A multipurpose room, which can be used for wrestling practice during the winter months, and for other activities the remainder of the year, is also slated for construction.
Additional renovations include the main entrance to the building and additional storage.
Gene Pickelman, one of the co-chairs of the Growing Campaign Cabinet, made the connection of how Valley is part of a larger revitalization. “This is not just a building project, it’s all about community,” Pickelman said. “It’s not just the Valley community, it’s about our county and our region. This is a wonderful resource for the entire region to touch lives all over.”