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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 24, 2011

Helderberg Christian School to build a home of its own

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — Plans to build a new home have been in development for a decade, and Helderberg Christian School is finally ready to set things in motion.

“On Election Day, we started our first phase of construction, putting in the driveway going up to the new facility,” said Joseph Amedio, president of the Helderberg Christian School Board. “We’re very excited, as an organization, to get this started off. It’s been years since the idea came together.”

The property, at the corner of routes 1 and 85 in Westerlo, was donated to the school in 2001, but HCS could not afford to build until recently. The school is not releasing the name of the donor. It had operated out of the old Westerlo School until last year, when the town purchased the building from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District, so it could be converted into the new town hall. HCS has been operating out of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Berne since then.

“Back in June, we were issued a driveway expansion permit,” Amedio said. “That gives us the approval of the plan to install the driveway, the parking lot, the drainage, and septic system. So, it gives us the approval to do all the excavating and everything till we start building the building itself, when we will need a building permit from the town of Westerlo.”

Last weekend, the community held a sign-raising ceremony on the 92 acres where the school will be built. The school itself, Amedio said, will take up only seven of those acres.

Asked what will be done with the rest of the property, Amedio said, “I guess it will be nature trails, just kept the way it is.”

“Right now,” he went on, “we have a good-sized playground that’ll be installed, maybe some sports fields down the road. It’s mostly woods behind the school.”

Lamont Engineers in Cobleskill has been helping with the planning, and Living Stone Contracting in Greenville will be in charge of building the school. Richardson Pump Service in Westerlo is working on the school’s water system.

“The well’s already installed,” said Amedio, “at 26 gallons a minute, approved by the department of health. You’ve got to make sure you have water; otherwise, that squats the whole project.”

Amedio said that, if all goes according to plan, the entire project will be paid for by donations from the community, and construction on the school itself should begin next summer.

“As long as the ground doesn’t freeze, we can continue working,” he said. “We’re so excited we were able to break ground and start, after everything that’s happened through the years.”

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