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Fundraiser auction to help expand instructional spaces at Hamilton Christian Academy

Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 18:51:53-05

HAMILTON - A school loved by students and families alike.

Hamilton Christian Academy (HCA) is the only accredited Christian school in the Bitterroot Valley. Their schoolhouse is one building and has kids from kindergarten all the way through high school.

Head of school Matthew Zwicker told MTN, “We’ve seen a growth in enrollment. Last year, for example, we reached record re-enrollment and enrollment. [The] largest school size since 1997 with 83 students and this year its grown and expanded into 86. And unfortunately for the first two months, in September and October, we had to tell people that we were full in the grades that they wanted to enter into.”

Hamilton Christian Academy has a 16 or 17:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

“We really believe the student-teacher ratio should be low in order to get our students the best education that they possibly can, that means we do have max capacity at many of our classes,” shared Zwicker.

HCA has run out of classroom space. With more and more people moving to the Bitterroot Valley and wanting an accredited Christian education, HCA is trying its best to accommodate.

After walking around the school with Zwicker, MTN got to see firsthand how squeezed they are.

“We’ve utilized the gym as a multi-purpose room and the stage that used to be a teacher lounge, we’ve opened that up and we’ve created it to be an actual stage getting a soundproof curtain so that we could have both activities going on in the gym, on the gym floor, and also on the stage simultaneously," Zwicker stated.

"We’re even teaching classes in the library. We have half as a library and half as a classroom. The amount of instructional spaces at the school has been maximized and we are really feeling growth pains,” he continued.

In order to help the school raise funds for more staff and instructional space expansion, Mike Swanson and his wife, who have 4 children at Hamilton Christian Academy, have created a fundraiser dinner and auction which is set to take place on March 16.

“We just want our work to reward the school so that other students can get the same opportunity our kids are," Swanson said.

HCA needs $65,000 to support day-to-day instruction. If the fundraising goal is passed, then HCA will be able to expand.

They'd begin by hiring more full-time teachers and getting a mobile unit to make into two classrooms which would cost around $100,000.

Their overall goal is to enlarge their school complex. They'd like to have a full-size gym, 20 more classrooms, and a new playground.

To purchase tickets, go to Hamilton Christian Academy’s website:

UPDATE 3/08: We have received new information stating that there are other accredited Christian schools in the Bitterroot Valley.