(Update: Adding video, comments from High Desert Christian Academy officials)
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — The High Desert Christian Academy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning to commemorate the transformation of the former Pioneer Memorial Hospital into the school's new home.
High Desert Christian Academy was established in 1994. It currently serves more than 100 students, with 24 staff members. The cost to attend is around $5,000.
"So we've got a day care that starts as young as 12 weeks, And it goes all the way up through graduation," Board President Skip Hinton said.
They now have a new location to call home, thanks to more than $50,000 being raised through an auction and donations.
The school has moved into the former Pioneer Memorial Hospital, which offers 27,000 square feet of space.
The hospital was originally built in 1950, but was decommissioned in 2015 when St. Charles Prineville opened.
"And so one of the things that this facility is going to allow us to do is to be able to house more students," Hinton said. "And as you know, more students means we can keep the cost to the parents down."
The hospital sat vacant for eight years, but that didn't dampen the interest of the new tenants.
"It was either this property or bare dirt that we were going to be starting with, and doing a groundbreaking and starting from the ground up," Hinton explained.
Parents gathered for the ribbon-cutting, along with Prineville and Crook County officials, to celebrate completion of the project.
After some celebratory snacks, the kids were walked into their classrooms, with teachers leading the way.
For Principal Maggie Hale, it was the happy ending to a long process.
"I shed a few tears, that's for sure, because this has just been an amazing journey, and totally has just brought my faith in the Lord stronger," Hale said.
There were doubters in the community.
"The things that we have heard is, 'There's no way you can do it -- there's no way, you're just crazy.' And each time, we have done this. And we have achieved our dream here."
The cost for the first phase of the school's move was nearly $100,000. In phases 2 and 3, the academy plans to build a new library, gymnasium and more classrooms.