January 8, 2024

From an Old Barn to a Brand-New Adventist School Building

In Germany, new educational facilities open after extensive construction project.

Adventistischer Pressedienst, and Adventist Review
The new facilities of the Oberhavel Adventist School in Oranienburg-Friedrichsthal, Germany. [Photo: © Lothar Scheel, Advent-Wohlfahrtswerk e.V.]

After two and a half years of construction, the new building of the Oberhavel Adventist School in Oranienburg-Friedrichsthal, Brandenburg, Germany, was dedicated in a special ceremony on October 18, 2023. The official announcement was posted by Advent-Wohlfahrtswerk e.V., the welfare organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany, in a report on its website.

In a special address, Christian Fischer, managing director of the school authority that operates Oberhavel, recalled the beginnings of the school: “In 2006, we launched the primary school with seven students in rooms of the former village school. The building had a certain charm, but the space was limited, and the building needed improvement,” Fischer said. For these reasons Advent Wohlfahrtswerk e.V. decided to support the construction of a new school building on the school grounds.

Modern Construction with Great Views

Before the construction of the new building could begin, workers renovated and expanded the existing school. They also demolished an old barn to make room for the new building. “It fills us with a certain pride that we were able to preserve part of the old building and integrate it into the new building,” Fischer said. “The modern school building, partly built of wood, extends in a U-shape around the spacious area in front of the entrance. It includes a new auditorium, a cafeteria, a new kitchen, and several modern classrooms with a wonderful view of the countryside.”

School principal Anita Michor also shared some details about the construction project. “Needless to say, the construction work during the ongoing school operation was exhausting for teachers and students…. But it was also a great adventure for the children,” Michor said. “They were able to witness every step of the construction project.”

Michor said that for the students it was interesting to see first-hand the challenges and achievements of the initiative. “The construction work itself was incorporated into their lessons,” she said. “Now that everything is finally finished and you can see how beautiful everything has become, we see that all the effort has been worth it.”

Cornerstone of Human Dignity

In his welcoming address, Johannes Naether, president of the North German Union Conference of the Adventist Church, asked, “Why do we, as a Protestant church, build and operate a school at all?” In his reply, he emphasized that education was an inseparable part of the Reformation and was both the motive and the consequence of a mature faith. Free access to education for all is therefore a cornerstone of human dignity, Naether said. Being able to read and understand the Bible for oneself was the key to education and progress at the time of the Reformation, he explained. “Today, too, it is important to develop and strengthen the individuality and personal responsibility of adolescents, and to promote solidarity and a sense of community,” Naether said. “Wholistic education of body, soul, and mind are central concerns of all educational institutions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

About Oberhavel Adventist School

Oberhavel Adventist School is a general secondary school with a primary school section. As an all-day school, it also offers students a wide range of school activities in the afternoon. As a private, independent school, the framework curriculum for the state of Brandenburg is adhered to, but the learning conditions can be designed more freely, according to the headmaster Anita Michor. Each class has a maximum of 17 children, which allows for more individual support. The children can attend school from the first to the tenth grade and take all common school leaving exams.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventistischer Pressedienst.