Second grade teacher Stephanie Hill helps students with an Easter assignment. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Second grade teacher Stephanie Hill helps students with an Easter assignment. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

New building expands capacity at Northshore Christian Academy

EVERETT — The new Cascade Pavilion at Northshore Christian Academy is expected to add more space for music, robotics, lunches and middle school classrooms.

The building is under construction now at the private, faith-based school. It’s the latest addition at a campus that has grown over the past couple of decades to keep up with a steady increase in enrollment.

Northshore Christian Church opened in 1993 as a plant of Overlake Christian Church. Two years later, the academy was founded. There were 37 students. Now, there are 1,015 students from toddlers to 8th grade.

The school and church were in a leased warehouse until 2003, when they moved to a permanent home at 5700 23rd Drive W, not far from Boeing’s Everett location.

Northshore Christian Academy includes specialty programs for art, music, science and engineering, and early education. Summer programs were added in 2005. The church shares space with the school, so the campus is busy all week long.

“We are really using God’s house to its max capacity, and we love that,” said Denise Christian, admissions and marketing director.

The academy is going from 145,000 square feet to 162,000 thanks to the addition of Cascade Pavilion. It’s the twin to Olympic Pavilion, built in 2010. The buildings are to be connected by an underground hallway and an upper story bridge.

Administrators expect an increase in enrollment after opening Cascade Pavilion this fall, but the school is close to capacity. The new building is meant to expand learning areas for current students, Christian said. It’s a $3.3 million project.

Workers have been putting in the foundation. Next will be steel framing, said Mark Lewinski, CEO and president of contractor Kirtley Cole. He feels good about the project and the company’s partnership with the school, he said.

The pavilion is designed to add a larger cafeteria that can seat two grade levels at a time rather than one, meaning longer lunch periods are possible. The existing cafeteria will be turned into a music space, and a new music room also is planned. That’s to better accommodate the 11 performing groups at the school, including orchestras, choirs and bands. One of the new building’s rooms is for Spanish teachers, who currently rove from classroom to classroom.

Another key feature of Cascade Pavilion is additional science and engineering space, a boon to the school’s three robotics teams.

“The school has grown so much and provided so much,” said David Chen, who volunteers as a robotics adviser. “From an engineering perspective, this is a dream come true, not only to mentor my own child but to mentor other children.”

Middle school students are mastering programming, design and manufacturing, all of which are vital skills in the workplace, he said.

Cascade Pavilion will allow the school to give sixth-grade students their own space, too. Currently, sixth-grade classrooms are spread throughout the campus. Giving elementary and middle school students separate areas creates a sense of community for them, said Glen Cowan, who serves on the church’s elder board and school board.

“It lets them have their identity,” he said.

Administrators and volunteers say their goal is to teach students to be kind to others and steady in their faith. They want students to leave the school as leaders.

Christian’s granddaughter attends the school.

“She has a heart for Jesus and I love that,” Christian said.

There are 17 languages spoken among the school’s students. They are not required to attend a Christian church to enroll, but Bible studies and chapel time are part of the curriculum.

After finishing middle school at Northshore Christian Academy, students go on to about 17 area high schools.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

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