Phase one of Trinity's Light of the World Project to finish in June

REED CITY — Three months after the groundbreaking ceremony for a new section of its school building, construction at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Reed City is progressing well and on target to finish in June.

The Light of the World campaign for the addition began last year, with the goal to further unite the church with the school and continue Christian education in the Reed City area. Since the campaign's beginning, the church has been fundraising and collecting pledges from congregation members and non-members to complete at least two phases of building. Each phase will include amenities ranked high in need by Trinity officials.

Glen Boprie and Aaron Keup, part of the project's building committee, are overseeing the construction and its progress. Phase one construction is sailing smoothly and better than expected, especially because of the mild weather for most of the winter.

"The lack of snow has actually put us ahead of schedule," Boprie said. "But I'm not saying we couldn't get put behind if we get a blizzard. Since the roof has been complete, we'll be able to begin inside work sooner than anticipated."

Keup agreed.

"In addition to the weather, our contractors from BCI have been phenomenal and have been really good about getting things done promptly," he said. "We haven't had any hiccups."

The current two structures, located on U.S. 10, are about 10 years old and feature a sanctuary, a narthex used for school activities and lunches, a few rooms designated for classrooms and offices that only are used for classrooms. For sports, the school uses their former gymnasium located at New Beginnings Fellowship Church, which used to house Trinity Lutheran Church and School.

During phase one construction, the kitchen and office will expand, the library will move to a temporary home in another room, and the school will have new preschool and kindergarten rooms. There also will be new classrooms for first through fourth grade, new bathrooms and a multi-purpose activity room. In addition to the new structure, modifications have taken place inside the current building to prepare for the changes, and a new playground will be erected in the summer.

Increased security is part of the project as well.

"We'll have a buzzing-in system at the front doors," Boprie said. "Once school starts, the only way you will be able to access our building is through our secretary, who will be able to see who is coming to the door. There will be an intercom for her to talk through. That's the only way someone will be able to come in."

Technology additions also can be expected, Keup said.

"We're looking to add some netbooks and some Chromebooks for our students," he added. "We want to make sure we're planning for the future, so we're going to be outfitting all the classrooms with wireless projectors and as the years go by we'll try and implement policies to get more devices into our school. We'll hopefully going to go to a 'bring your own device' environment. It saves on the school's finances, so as long as you can monitor it and manage it, it's possible."

The building also switched from a DSL to a fiber connection to ensure technology is efficient and up to date now and for years to come. Some lessons for students are cloud-based, which saves more money than purchasing textbooks.

Thus far, Trinity has received $582,600 in pledges, and nearly half already has been given. Keup and Boprie believe the show of support is a big sign their school families are dedicated to the campaign.

"That's incredible for a congregation of our size," Boprie said. "It just reaffirms us that this is something God wants — not just for Trinity, but for the community of Reed City. That's what it's all about, to reach out and bring Christ to children.

"It's not so much about a building. It's about what we're teaching. We're bringing children and families to Christ and that's the most important thing of this whole venture. We're reaching out and sharing the gospel in a different way than any other church is in the surrounding area. We're at a time when Christian schools are closing and we're bucking the trend."

While construction takes place, Trinity's students have a front-row seat of the action. The students believe in the project so much that some of them even pledge the money from their piggy banks to help it move forward.

"They're watching the school go up in front of their eyes," Keup said. "The kids are glued to a window watching bulldozers go by and watching cranes put stuff up. It's an experience for them because how many kids get to watch their school being built and take pride in that? To have it done toward the end of the school year really gives them something to look forward to for the next year.

"The kids enjoy watching it, but at the same time it's a learning experience for them. The kids I teach are thinking about what they want to do someday in a profession, and I tie in math and science. I have a construction site outside and that's a perfect opportunity to talk about mathematics, geometry, science, measuring, plumbing, pressure and the weather effecting what the workers are doing. It's a living classroom right outside our window we've talked about many times."

Once enough funds are collected, phase two will be the construction of a new gymnasium and two additional classrooms. The library will move into the multi-purpose activity room. If a phase three occurs, it will include a new cafeteria.

"We're going to have a really nice facility when it's all done, and it's something we're open to the community using," Keup said. "God is continuing to bless us, so we hope to keep that ball rolling."

Learn more about the project at, find Trinity Lutheran Church and School on Facebook or call (231) 832-5186 to donate to the Light of the World campaign.