Initially started as a ministry of Cornerstone Community Church in 1981, Billings Christian School (BCS) became an independent non-denominational school in 2006.

The school and church remained in close fellowship and support of one another, and in 2011 the church graciously gifted approximately 15,000 square feet of their existing building along with three and a half acres of land surrounding the buildings, parking areas, and sports fields. The school subsequently developed plans for expanding the campus, but due to funding limitations knew that it would need to occur in phases.

With a reputation for both quality academics and a strong Christian environment and classes from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the school nearly tripled enrollment in just three years. Space was at a premium, and something needed to be done.


With rapidly increasing enrollment, Billings Christian School needed to expand their facilities to keep up with the growth. To begin this process, the BCS Education Foundation Board and members of the school Board and administration conducted a “mini-campaign” that quietly raised $640,000 for the completion of two classrooms, a Home Economics classroom/kitchen combination, a science laboratory, rest rooms and a fire sprinkler system. The school also badly needed a gymnasium, but that dream was carried forward to a future phase due to lack of funding.

The Plan

When the original facility was built, space was allocated for a gymnasium. The shell of the gym was constructed but was never finished due to lack of finances. It sat empty for years ~ little more than four concrete walls and a dirt floor.

The envisioned gymnasium was to be a centerpiece for the school, including basketball and volleyball courts, seating for 350, locker rooms, and a scoreboard. In addition to athletic events, the gymnasium would also double as a dining hall, and would be available for other activities such as plays, band and physical education classes. Plans also included a large storage area and two additional classrooms, if sufficient funds could be raised. Located in Montana, weather conditions made an indoor gym even more critical. With the remarkable growth the school was experiencing, the Board determined that it was time to act.

Pre-Campaign Planning

To determine just how much was needed for plans for the gymnasium to become reality, the school hired an architect to give them an estimate of the cost and create renderings that could be used in a fund-raising program.

The next step was to engage Dickerson, Bakker & Associates to conduct an independent feasibility study among the school’s constituency. The results of the study indicated support for the construction of a gymnasium was very high, but the financial support was border line depending on the “bells and whistles” in the gymnasium.

Dickerson, Bakker & Associates provided a preliminary plan as to how the funding goal could be achieved. The school leadership reviewed the proposal and agreed to partner with the firm to conduct a capital campaign. With this, another giant step was taken toward future growth and expanding the school’s academic and extra-curricular programs.

The Campaign

DB&A’s consultant pointed out that people needed to understand that the school leadership was involved financially in the project and was not simply asking others to do something that they had not done.

So, an important first step of the campaign was to let people know that the school administration, the school board and the school’s foundation board members had provided the $640,000 that provided for the previous construction of classrooms within the church building.

The consultant felt it was important for people to understand that the school leadership was once again stepping up with commitments to this new phase of school expansion and now were calling on all friends of Billings Christian School to join them to provide the needed funding for the gymnasium.

The campaign plan called for Advance Gift Prospects (leadership/major gifts) to be cultivated and solicited face to face to acquire as least 60% of the financial goal of $1.9 million. Board members volunteered to undertake these meetings and after being trained by the Dickerson, Bakker & Associates consultant, they began seeking meetings and requesting people to invest in the lives of the children in the Billings community. In addition, programs for the faculty& staff, parents, grandparents, former parents, alumni and community friends were initiated.

A major Montana foundation also became involved and its gift toward the end of the campaign put the goal over the top. Today, the gymnasium is in full use and the storage area and classrooms have added to the school’s ability to expand it programing and enrollment.


  • Successfully completed Billings Christian School's first-ever capital campaign
  • Raised 100% of the $1.9 million needed to achieve the vision for the campaign
  • Completed construction of a new 10,000 sq ft gymnasium on time for beginning of the school year
  • Resulting expansion will also serve as a multi-functional "centerpiece" of the campus, for events like plays, concerts, science fairs
  • Sufficient funds were raised to also add new locker rooms and two classrooms


Dickerson-Bakker has an expertise that you just can't duplicate. You can study about donors. You can read about capital campaigns. But there is no way you can duplicate their experience.

Dian Floth, Head of School ~ Billings Christian School

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