GREAT FALLS — The property next to Valley Community Bible Church on Flood Road in southwest Great Falls is open land now - but Foothills Community Christian School has big plans for a new athletic complex and soccer field.
The school wants to host sporting events not only for the school, but for the community as well. It’s a tall task totaling about $6 million to complete, but school officials say they have the backing to get it done.
And the project got a big boost several days ago. During the school's annual Spring Banquet fundraiser, officials announced the school received a $500,000 gift from the Gianforte Family Foundation to formally launch the fundraising effort.
"It does provide a level of motivation, a level of comfort that this is the real deal," FCCS Head of School David Culpepper said. "There's just so much stuff going on in the real world, you can't check everything out, but it helps give the confidence to other people that a gift here will definitely be utilized for what it's intended, and that is always comforting the folks that allows them to reconsider what they are doing."
Foothills said the donation is intended as a "challenge gift" to inspire others to partner with Foothills to construct the 16,000-square foot facility that will benefit not only the school’s programs but will be available for a variety of community groups and organizations when it is completed.
FCCS Athletic Director Josey Lindseth said the facility is more than about serving the athletes - it's also about the community.
"I know it means the world to our students and the athletes just to have a home and somewhere to see your name on the floor when you're achieving the things you are really looking to achieve," he said. "And from a community standpoint, it is going to be a big deal to a lot of people, and we've gotten a lot of feedback from some different groups that we are going to be able to help service and just get some people a place to meet."
Foothills advancement director Kerri Koteskey said there will be more than athletics held at the complex and it will be something the school has been waiting years to make happen.
“The athletic program has been looking at the need for a facility for probably the last three, four years. When Covid hit, that really solidified the fact that we need to have our own facility. We have a great relationship with the Deaf and Blind school (who share gyms for sports), and it works for both of us but we’ve been looking at this for a while,” Koteskey said. “I helped with coaching this year and I don’t think we’ve gone through a week in a conversation with either other teams or someone in the community when there hasn’t been something that came back to how helpful it would be to have that venue not just for our school but for the community.”
The school hopes the project will be done in 2024, but funding and the availability of supplies will be factors in the timeline.