New Christian elementary expanding

Arma Dei Academy to move from church basement to two-story addition

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A private Christian school launched last year with nine students will expand into a new space with room for as many as 210 students next spring.

Leaders of Arma Dei Academy, which now is housed in the basement of Living Way Fellowship Church in Highlands Ranch, breaks ground on the two-story expansion Oct. 1.

Four Douglas County families helped open the K-8 school in September 2012. Seven of the original nine students were the founding parents’ children. The school now has 26 students, and its board is secure enough in its future to take a huge step forward.

“We’re just seeing more interest in classical Christian education, especially in the lower grades,” board chairman Greg Vigil said. “Having a home for the school will reinforce that the school’s not going anywhere. I think it will give people confidence it’s a viable alternative for their child’s education.”

The 16,000-square-foot addition will be connected to the church. Arma Dei Academy will have a long-term lease on the space, with the goal of someday building its own separate structure and then turning the attached space back over to Living Way.

“It’s a huge upgrade from our current use of the space where we’re a tenant and we’re secondary to the primary user,” Vigil said.

The board’s ultimate goal is construction of a free-standing, K-12 campus, ideally on a vacant 7-acre parcel adjacent to the Wildcat Reserve Parkway church.  But there’s no rush to bring that dream to fruition.

“My desire is to do what we are doing and do it well rather than take on something new and do it half well,” said headmaster Steve Marshall, who recently joined the Arma Dei staff.

The school’s course of study emphasizes biblical teachings. Arma Dei students learn Latin and study math, science, history and classical literature, among other subjects.

Until and unless Arma Dei adds a high school level, its graduates will attend Valor Christian or public high schools.

“Our desire is to make sure they are equipped to handle the rigors or high school and be successful,” Marshall said.

The construction will be paid for with private donations, Vigil said.

Arma Dei Academy plans an open house from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24. Child care will be provided.

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