Ben Lippen School breaks ground on $5.5 million expansion

Ben Lippen students applaud as faculty breaks ground on the new facility. Karamie Sullivan photos

New and improved developments are being made at Ben Lippen School in Columbia. Headmaster Tony Fajardo and Columbia International University’s president Mark Smith stood alongside students and faculty Monday morning, at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new arts and sciences center. The 13,000 sq.-ft. facility will provide the Christian-based school with increased learning potential for their students in chemistry, robotics, engineering and visual arts.

“This dream that’s going to become a reality is going to give us the chance to expand our classrooms. In combination with the new business and I.T. center, it gives us the opportunity to reach the hearts and the minds of over 100 new students,” said Fajardo. The plan is to finish the facility by mid-July so that it will be available for the new school year in August.

According to Fajardo, the new center is a $5.5 million expansion. The facility will have a new entranceway, with an elevator that takes guests up to the next floor that opens into an innovation lab and science space. There will be another opening to an outdoor area, giving students the space to fly drones and work on 3-D projects. “When you walk through the facility, there will be a brand new art space, that will encourage our students with the God-given ability in the arts to expand on that,” said Fajardo. There will also be an art gallery space, and new choir loft upstairs.

Smith said the expansion will better both CIU and Ben Lippen. “CIU is as ministry that encompasses Ben Lippen, so we have worked together to come forward with projects that will expand and grow this campus,” he said. “We’re up 20 percent in enrollment this fall at CIU, and Ben Lippen is up 15 percent.”

In addition to Ben Lippen’s arts and sciences center, CIU is also welcoming a new addition to its campus. The William H. Jones Global Business and IT Center is a $20 million project that is already underway. Both Ben Lippen and CIU students will be able to utilize the center.

Categories: Business, Columbia, Education, Richland County