A new campus for Cascade Christian High School will be ready to open when the school year kicks off at the beginning of September.

A new campus for Cascade Christian High School will be ready to open when the school year kicks off at the beginning of September.

Moving from Jacksonville to its new location at 886 Chevy Way in north Medford will allow Cascade Christian to keep up with its steadily growing enrollment, said Superintendent Ray Johnson.

It also will make the commute easier for students who live in Medford, Prospect, Eagle Point and other cities around the Rogue Valley, Johnson added.

"We've done a study and we know that moving to Medford will bring a big difference in our enrollment," Johnson said. "When you're in an outlying area, with freshmen and sophomores that traditionally don't drive, it makes it very difficult for their parents to get them to school and still make it to work on time.

"Our location in Medford is really ideal."

Johnson said that current enrollment is 314 students, but that number could increase as it gets closer to the beginning of the term. The new building can house up to 325 students for its grand opening.

Work on a locker room, weight room, kitchen and a second floor with nine classrooms and a 300-seat auditorium will continue through the school's opening.

The 72,800-square-foot complex ultimately will have capacity for 500 pupils.

"We have a second floor that we'll add to as enrollment increases," Johnson said.

Preliminary designs on the building were done by Cascade Christian graduate Daniel Dunham, who's currently attending school at the University of Southern California.

His initial designs were shown to the school's faculty before being taken before an architect from R.A. Murphy Construction Inc. for some slight modifications.

"The whole basic design was his, which is pretty cool since he's one of our alumni," Johnson said. "His original design had some things we had to do away with because they were a little expensive. We still have lots of windows on that building."

Cascade officials are anticipating commercial zoning changes to be completed on the property in Jacksonville, which will allow the school to finalize sale of the historic building for close to its initial appraisal of $5 million, according to Johnson.

Mel and Brooke Ashland of Central Point began negotiations on the 7.57-acre property with Cascade Christian officials more than a year ago. The Ashlands' offer was accepted by Cascade Christian in April, according to Brooke Ashland.

Johnson said the new property and its nearly $10 million price tag is almost paid for.

"We did real well," he said. "Between the sale of the building and the generous donations, I was just amazed. With everybody just giving what they could, it looks like we're going to come real close to having it paid for, which is a great thing because we didn't want to go into debt."

The main school, painted tan with dark red trim and featuring plenty of windows, includes a skyway with 6,000 square feet of administrative office space for the entire Grace Christian Schools system and three classrooms that will link the building with the basketball gym, a former Superior Athletic Club site.

The school's football team will continue to practice in Jacksonville and will play its home games at Crater High School.

While the new site remains on schedule, Johnson said the crews from R.A. Murphy Construction will likely remain busy right up until the opening.

"They're working long hours to get this thing done by September 4," Johnson said.

Reach intern Bob Albrecht at 776-8791 or e-mail intern1@mailtribune.com.