THE EARLY YEARS
In 1976, with a staff of only two, the Mount Paran Christian School Learning Center was established. The program began with a preschool-kindergarten program at Mount Paran Central Church of God in Atlanta. A combined first and second grade class, and an after-school program were added the following year. That same year saw the development and adoption of the name Mount Paran Christian School (MPCS) and the establishment of the first official MPCS school board. Third and fourth grade programs were added in 1978, followed by one grade addition each year through 1982.
During the 1984-1985 school year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found the MPCS elementary program to be in full compliance with all Association standards, awarding the elementary and middle schools their full accreditation. Mount Paran Church of God’s acquisition of a 65-acre site on Allgood Road (Marietta) in 1985, provided fulfillment of the vision for a total high school program. Existing facilities on the acquired property were renovated and enhanced. The high school program (grades nine through 11) began in 1986 with 94 students. The following year, grade 12 was added, and MPCS received its full accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for kindergarten through grade 12.
With the rapid expansion of the middle and high school instructional areas, establishment of a well-planned, highly structured athletic program soon followed, and athletic facilities were constructed. In 1986, MPCS became a member of the Georgia High School Athletic Association (GHSA). With an experienced athletic director and a staff of quality coaches, participation in interscholastic varsity and junior varsity sports became an important aggregate of the MPCS program.
In 1994, additional classrooms were required in the elementary school to facilitate growth. Fine Arts courses were also added, and the arts program began to develop. Computer labs were installed, and the school introduced a technology program to students.
EXPANSION TO KENNESAW
MPCS purchased property in 2002, and in 2003 moved from the Mount Paran North location in Marietta to the beautiful 68 acres in Kennesaw, where the school campus is now located. The new campus began with the Mulkey Building (housing lower school, middle school, gyms, media centers, dining hall), Dozier Hall (high school), and the Sewell Cottage (preschool). Athletic facilities quickly developed – tennis courts, multiple sports fields, and two gyms. An existing historic log cabin and a six-acre lake remain part of the school campus.
In December 2007, MPCS purchased the magnificent performing arts center adjacent to the school property. With its 577-seat main theater, a black box theater, dance studios, exquisite grand lobby, state-of-the-art recording studios, band and choral rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, and classrooms, the purchase was a welcome addition to the growing campus. In January 2008, the building was named the Murray Arts Center at Mount Paran Christian School, in honor of the Stuart and Eulene Murray Family Foundation, who made a generous donation toward the purchase of the building for the school, and whose family owned the property upon which the school was built.
The athletic facilities of MPCS continued to expand over the next few years as well. Batting cages, baseball/softball complex, fitness center, weight room, rubber track, and turf field were a few of the additions. The 2015 football season kicked off in the brand new Catherine Steele Sewell Stadium.
The next project in line for MPCS is the expansion of the high school facilities, with plans to construct an innovation center for STEM/STEAM, tentatively set for 2020.
THE MURRAY FAMILY FARM
In the early 1940s, Stuart Murray purchased 750 acres from D.W. McEachern. “A Gentleman Farmer,” Stuart Murray and his wife Eulene lovingly tended to and shared the beauty of this property with others for more than 50 years. A six-acre lake was constructed here about the same time Mr. Murray had a North Carolina cabin moved onto the property in 1949. Cattle farming followed, as well as much loved weekends of entertaining family and friends on the farm.
In addition to love and respect for the land, the Murrays also shared a strong support of education and a love for children and family. Following the deaths of the Murrays, 68 acres of the farm were sold to Mount Paran Christian School. It is fitting the land they cherished has evolved into a community of faith and learning, where children will flourish for generations to come.
Mount Paran Christian School is honored to continue the legacy of the Murray family and committed to continuing the stewardship of this land.