School reopens its dormitory

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Virginia Miller gives a kiss to her great-granddaughter, Kyra Ostrovsky, 8, as the pair welcomes guests into the newly renovated Virginia Miller Hospitality House.

AIKEN - Calypso music provided a festive backdrop Thursday for the celebration of Christ Central Institute's renovation of its housing facility in Wagener.


Spectators milled around in the early evening, snapping pictures of the more than 100-year-old home.

"The longevity of the house has culminated to this point," said Jason Conrad, the school's academic officer. "We hope to honor the people who used to live in it."

The 5,000-square-foot building, built in 1900 and renamed the Virginia Miller Hospitality House, is now the girl's dormitory.

"We were pressed for housing," Mr. Conrad said.

In May 2003, the house and land were donated to the school.

At the time, the house had seen better days. With its boarded-up windows and overgrown foliage, the building looked ready for a demolition crew, Mr. Conrad said.

However, during the past four years, volunteers came together and achieved a transformation.

The house now boasts white columns and a balcony lined with rocking chairs.

With the facility completed, Christ Central officials have turned their sights to the future.

"Our buildings are scattered all over town," the Rev. Jimmy Jones said.

"Our goal is to build our campus on the 50 acres we own across the street (from the hospitality house)."

Christ Central began as a ministry feeding the homeless in Columbia in 1994.

The institute for higher learning was formed from that ministry in 2002, according to the organization's Web site.

It also works to increase education in the rural towns of South Carolina.

"While Christ Central is a ministry that serves as a focus for existing poverty issues in communities, it is not a denomination," Mr. Conrad said. "Christ Central serves as a catalyst to get people to do things about their community."

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or