SUDBURY -- New life has been injected into an older building that was once the site of St. Raphael Elementary School in New Sudbury.

After years of moving from site-to-site, the board at the Sudbury Christian School has purchased the property and has big plans for it moving forward. It's also rebranded itself as the Sudbury Christian Academy.

Members of the board, supporters and pastors gathered outside the school Friday morning for a dedication service.

"The school's been in operation for over 30 years. We've been housed in various facilities throughout the city, always renting, and this is the first time that we've owned our own property,” said its principal, Luke Morse.  

“We purchased this building which was the former St. Raphael's Catholic School and it's now the permanent home of Sudbury Christian Academy."

Enrolment has been growing to the private school in recent years. It's even been the recipient of such donors as the Lougheed Family Foundation which donated $10,000 towards tuition assistance earlier this year.

The school currently has 50 students registered at their new site. They are only operating out of one wing with plans to open up a high school in one of the others at a later date.

"It's monumental, I think it completely changes our perception of ourselves and our perception in the community as well that we are an established school," said Morse.

"We had to say goodbye to a lot of families because it's such a significant change in neighbourhoods but our numbers are increasing everyday."

"A day like this is an 'oh so exciting', a day like this was only a dream back then," said Patrick Slack, the school's first-ever principal who accepted the role in 1983.

"But we had no idea how or where it could be."

Slack addressed the small crowd in front of the school. He says he's looking forward to seeing what challenges or feats the school can accomplish next.

"Something that Sudbury needs to know is that from the humble beginnings, in the early days, when I look back now, we've had a hand in training carpenters and miners, scientists and musicians, authors and doctors, management professionals and bankers. You know we had a hand in some of the excellent people that are running our community and our world today," he fondly recalled.

Opening a new property is never easy, particularly during a pandemic.

The school officials have installed hand sanitizer stations around the wing that they're currently using and they've brought in extra professionals to do thorough cleanings each night.

They've also implemented a mask policy inside the building.

"It is a good news day," said Morse.