SWCS celebrates high school, gymnasium completion

Basketball teams set on Friday to play long-anticipated first games in facility

Southwest Covenant Schools Headmaster Steve Lessman, second from right, cuts the ribbon on the new SWCS high school and gymnasium facilities. Pictured with the headmaster are board member Jenny Friend, board moderator Stacy Webb and and board member Ellen Jensen. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

It was a day of celebration Friday, as Southwest Covenant Schools administrators, teachers, staff and students were finally able to cut the ribbon officially opening its long-anticipated new high school and gymnasium facilities.

The new high school, located east of the original school complex, will house students in 9th through 12th grades, SWCS Headmaster Steve Lessman said – a major boost to the school, which has been forced to utilize three classrooms inside Covenant Community Church. The new facility includes 15 classrooms, a science room and a safe room.

The new gym seats 900 people and includes two classrooms, six locker rooms, concessions and a hospitality room, Lessman said. A new weight room is also a new feature, with equipment donated by a now defunct Bethany business. SWCS’s old gym was rated for 300 people and featured four locker rooms.

The school broke ground on the gym construction project more than two years ago. What no one could have anticipated at the time was the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would leave in its wake – including supply issues and labor shortages that slowed progress on the project.


Despite a several month delay on the completion date, Lessman praised Sooner Construction, which worked hard to keep costs down, succeeding in keeping the final price tag near the original estimated price tag.

“It is very close to the original contract from two years ago,” the headmaster said in May of last year. “The time it has taken is disappointing, but we are looking forward to moving in.”

In addition to new construction, the school also has invested in repairs and upgrades to the SWCS secondary school building – which celebrated its 40-year anniversary in fall 2022.

Among those efforts was the planting of 40 trees and a nine-foot sidewalk that leads to the new high school.

Students will be able to follow the sidewalk to a pedestrian bridge, which will be built across a creek to the high school entrance.

Also on tap is the construction of a new football field on the campus, slated for the south side of the gym.

As of press time Friday, SWCW high school basketball teams were set to host their first basketball games in the new gym, facing Christian Heritage Academy.