Calvary Baptist Church

The Kessler School plans to move from its home of 20 years to an old church on Tenth Street.

The school, which opened at Kessler Park United Methodist Church in 1999, has the Calvary Baptist Church building under contract.

The Calvary building, including the 1953 education annex, comprises 60,000 square feet. In their rented space on Turner at Colorado, the school currently has just 10,000 square feet.

“We’re leaving on very good terms,” says Cooper Smith Koch, who is president of the school’s board of trustees. “They know we need more space. We’re constantly asking for more space from them.”

The city requires a specific use permit for any school, requiring a traffic study, site plan, public hearings and notifying neighbors. Koch says feedback so far has been positive, and they are scheduling a meeting with the Sunset Hill Neighborhood Association.

About 130 students are enrolled this school year, Koch says. The school is adding seventh and eighth grades in a “staggered expansion” that this year offered seventh-grade enrollment to its previous sixth-graders.

Calvary was built in 1924. The neoclassical church at Tenth and Brighton is among the last of the grand Tenth Street churches. The street supposedly held the record at one time for the highest concentration of churches per mile.

The Kessler School plans to remove the brise soleil facade, added sometime in the mid-20th century, and restore it to its classic look.

A section of Calvary Baptist Church’s brise soleil was removed to show the original columns.

The school also plans to remove about half of the enormous parking lot to use for green space, such as a playing field.

Part of the Calvary Baptist Church parking lot.

The Kessler School has a waitlist for pre-K enrollment. With a larger building, they could expand pre-k and scholarship offerings.

“When we own our own building, we’ll be able to do more things,” Koch says.