Growing for God

Published 12:12 pm Monday, September 13, 2010

Atmore Christian School is expanding, adding some much-needed classrooms, offices and a gymnasium.

It has been a long road since the school began small in 1976, and now members of Mennonite Christian Fellowship Church have been doubling classes and sharing space to teach the K-12th grade students.

They have 90 students enrolled now and could expand those classes with the new building project that is underway.

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“We could accommodate 125 to 150 students here when this building project is complete,” Tim Battles, the school’s administrator, said. “When I first came here about seven years ago, there were 37 students enrolled and today we have 90 and we need more room.”

The school has battled the space shortage for a number of years and had begun talking about what they could do to expand.

“We thought about adding another story to what we already have,” Battles said. “We even thought about bringing in another building, but it was going to take so much to move it that we abandoned that idea. We have discussed many options, but our big break came when an anonymous donor gave us $300,000 to get started. Since that time we have had a number of fundraisers and have about $520,000 that we are working with right now. We are looking at an amount of $850,000 to get everything like it needs to be. We will have to have a lot more fundraisers.”

The first part of the new building project was to build a large gym to the rear of the present school. After that they poured the slab for the school rooms.

The workers started with just a concrete slab on Saturday, Sept. 4, and by Wednesday afternoon, almost all of the framing had been complete on the classroom section. Members of the church’s ministry in this area have pulled together to get it as far as it has come.

According to Battles, the next step is to put a metal roof and siding on the education wing. Where there are classrooms next to the gym, the builders will sound proof with dry-wall.

The education wing will contain two office rooms, a kitchen and four new classrooms. There is also another classroom connecting to the gym, which is planned to be used for a variety of events.

Battles said that the men who are working on the building have a number of construction skills, which have really helped with the expenses. There are some jobs that have to be contracted out, but whenever they have the skills, the volunteers will be doing the work.

“We will be trying to save money on the project as much as we can,” Battles said. “The roof will come next and then we can get started on the inside of the education wing. This whole building project is God’s plan and He will lead us through. If He wants us to continue with another project, we will follow His will.”

Workers construct the frame of the new building Wednesday afternoon at Atmore Christian School.|Photo by Lydia Grimes