Printed on: January 17, 2013

Calvary Chapel state's newest athletic program

By Michael Lycklama

It's taken more than a decade, but Idaho Falls has a new high school athletic program.

Calvary Chapel Christian School became the state's latest fully accredited high school athletic program Wednesday when the Idaho High School Activities Association board of directors approved it unanimously as a full member.

The Idaho Falls-based Saints competed as an associate member, primarily as a JV team, this school year for the first time. Full membership is required to compete in district and state tournaments.

The vote provides the culmination of a dream for school pastor Scotty Brown, who began the process of building an athletic program in 2002. The K-12 school held its first classes in 1997. But it suffered several delays before it could host its own high school, which graduates its first class in 2014.

"Bottom line, we're trying to develop godly young men and women," Brown said. "An athletic program brings unity, allows them to work toward a common goal and teaches kids to lay down their lives for one another."

The school will field red-and-black-clad teams in 8-man football, volleyball, boys and girls basketball and golf. It will join the 1A Division II classification and compete in a league with Clark County, Leadore, Mackay, North Gem, Rockland and Sho-Ban in all sports except for golf and football. It will compete in Idaho's smallest classification for golf, 2A. It will be a member of the Sawtooth Conference East Division in football.

The IHSAA approved the school for full membership based on a schedule that includes only away games. The school does not have the facilities to host games. But that could change before the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The school has goalposts installed at a football field on its Hitt Road campus. And athletic director John Yadon said the school plans to add bleachers and a scoreboard before the start of next season.

Brown said a new gym for the school is likely three years away. But school officials are shopping for an off-campus gym in Idaho Falls to host is volleyball and basketball games.

Once its facilities meet the IHSAA's standards -- a scoreboard, locker rooms, bleachers and restrooms, for example -- the District 6 Board of Control can approve them and allow Calvary Chapel to host games as early as the 2013-14 season.

"They've got plans to add facilities as they go," IHSAA board member Bryan Jolley said. "The board was comfortable with that as a whole. They've been good so far with doing what they say. It's just a matter of finances. And as with everyone, you can only do so much at a time."