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Bethel Park school changes name, appoints principal

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, May 15, 2001

With a new principal and a new name, a Bethel Park Christian school is trying to raise $2 million to expand the former public elementary school it calls home.

Hillcrest Christian School announced at an open house Monday night it has changed its name to Hillcrest Christian Academy. Ken Barbour, a former teacher and principal who had served as the school's interim principal, was announced as the new principal.

The school, which has about 310 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, is owned and operated by South Hills Assembly on Bethel Church Road. It opened in the fall of 1981 in the building purchased from the Bethel Park School District. Annual tuition is about $2,000 per child, with discounts for siblings.

Jack Stepp, senior pastor of South Hills Assembly, said the new name will further distinguish the school from the public school system.

'It does give it more of a sense of distinction,' he said. 'A number of Christian schools are already using the terminology of 'academy' and others are moving in that direction. We're keeping up with that trend.'

On Barbour, Stepp said, 'He's a wonderful man. We're privileged to have him as our principal.'

Architectural renderings of the new addition were displayed at the open house. It will include a gymnasium and seven classrooms.

Stepp said the addition is needed to replace the former elementary school gymnasium, which doubles as the cafeteria.

'This has been a dream for us,' Stepp said. 'It's a need that's past due.'

The church is currently arranging financing for the addition. There is no timetable for its construction. Stepp said the gymnasium would be built first, followed by the classrooms.

'We believe it can be done,' Stepp said. 'We're on our way, but we're far from our goal.'

Brian C. Rittmeyer can be reached at brittmeyer@tribweb.com or at (412) 306-4540.

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