Sierra Lutheran seeks $11 million to expand athletic venues |

Sierra Lutheran seeks $11 million to expand athletic venues

by Teri Vance

Down the hillside behind Sierra Lutheran High School is an open expanse of little more than dirt and sagebrush.

But that’s not what Brian Underwood, executive director of the school, sees.

He sees a football field and track laid out next to soccer and baseball fields.

“You can begin to see it unfold,” he said. “It’s an exciting time.”

The school is launching an $11 million campaign to raise money through grants, foundations and private donations.

The program, called Gifts of Grace, is focused on funding the school’s expansion as well as on augmenting its tuition assistance program.

“We know facilities are a big part of helping a high school grow,” Underwood said. “This is really important for us to be able to provide a state-of-the-art campus for the community.”

The school started 10 years ago in Douglas County and moved two years ago to its new location on the border of Carson City and Douglas County.

This year, 83 students are enrolled with an expected bump to 100 next year. Underwood said the current campus can accommodate about 150 students at a ratio of 13 students to one teacher.

Once the expansion is complete, he said, the school will be able to house up to 600 students.

“We want to give our students the large-school experience within an intimate setting, with lots of opportunities for arts and athletics.”

Sierra Lutheran completed the first phase of its plan last summer with the completion of its double-court gymnasium.

The Gifts of Grace campaign is aimed at funding upcoming projects, beginning with a stadium for track and field, football and soccer, as well as the construction of additional classrooms, arts facilities, and other athletic venues.

Sierra Lutheran is tentatively planning to open the athletic stadium in two years and the rest of the projects in five.

“Based on the way the community has supported the school in the past, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened faster,” Underwood said.

The high school also recently received a $7,700 grant from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League to purchase chapel and special events equipment for the school’s new gymnasium.

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, reviews and selects mission grant proposals for recognized Lutheran entities across the country. The league approved grant funds for Sierra Lutheran to purchase a stage, lighting and projection and amplification equipment.

“Sierra Lutheran High School is exceedingly grateful for the LWML’s support of Sierra Lutheran High School and our commitment to providing top-tier education,” Underwood said. “By virtue of the support, Sierra Lutheran has the opportunity to enhance its worship and special-event programming.”

Funding from the missionary league will assist Sierra Lutheran in hosting its first on-campus commencement exercise in May.