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Christ Academy finishes renovations on chapel

A water pipe flooded the building during February's winter storm, but the school managed to turn a catastrophe into something beautiful.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 1:09 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A broken pipe and surprise flood during last February’s winter storm seemed to spell disaster for Christ Academy. Today, however, destroyed areas in the flooded building have been remodeled into an open and welcoming entrance area that leads into the school’s brand new chapel.

Chief Education Officer Jerry Meadows talked about how Christ Academy rebounded and came together to turn the catastrophe into something beautiful. He remembered how the school had braced against the initial storm, conducting walkthroughs to make sure there was no damage. Just when they thought the danger had passed, news came that a water pipe in one of the main buildings had broken.

“Not just a little water. The school was genuinely flooded,” Meadows recalled. “The carpet was covered with water, four inches of the drywall was damp or wet, and furniture had already begun to swell or collect mold.”

Board members, school administrators and parents gathered at the school to frantically sweep out the water and assess the situation.

“It truly was a moment of panic,” said Meadows.

However, the initial anxiety quickly shifted into a resolute determination to turn the damage into an opportunity. The school had always wanted to have a stand-alone chapel, and there had been proposals made to construct it in a separate building. But the plans had been too expensive when Wednesday chapel services could simply be held in the cafetorium. The dream seemed untenable until the February storm. Suddenly, the damaged building was an opportunity.

“It began to become very clear that this was our new chapel,” said Meadows. “It was right in the heart of our campus, right where it needed to be.”

A combination of insurance money and community donations allowed the school to renovate the damaged areas at a much lower cost than what had previously been possible. Christ Academy was able to reopen the building with an airy entrance area and their dream, a new chapel open at all times for students, staff and parents.

“It’s a place that’s set aside for who we really are, and it serves as a reminder of our mission,” said Meadows.

The large room of the chapel is intentionally flexible. There is nothing attached to the walls, allowing the space to be reconfigured at will, and dynamic lighting controls can change the room’s ambiance in a heartbeat. Meadows talked about his secret name for the room, and how he felt it symbolized the school’s mission.

“We reflect and project a bright white cross onto that wall, which says that light can go anywhere. It is not attached to this place. It is in this place, but it can go anywhere... for me, it’s the Chapel of Light.”

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