GCA breaks ground at future site of Athletic Complex

Published 3:23 pm Monday, November 29, 2021

Wednesday morning, Grace Christian Academy celebrated their long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony at the future home of their athletic complex.

Mardi McRae, Director of Development, welcomed the crowd, giving a brief history of Grace Christian Academy.

“Almost 27 years ago, the elders at Grace Church decided to break ground on Grace Christian Academy and we are so thankful they did,” she said.

McRae went on to say all four of her children attended GCA, and because of their education and the spiritual guidance gained at GCA they have gone on to find great success.

McRae then invited one of the original founders, Chip Perry up to give a word of prayer.

“When we broke ground almost 27 years ago, we never could’ve imagined what it would become today and we thank the Lord for that,” Perry said.

Following Perry’s prayer, senior football player Kooper Kearns and senior cheerleader Mary Glenn Warr sang the National Anthem.

Melinda Glenn, Chairman of the GCA School Board then took to the podium.

“I have to admit, when we started talking about this project 18- months ago, I was a little skeptical,” she said. “I couldn’t get my brain around it and see how we could accomplish it.”

Now that the project is nearing 50 percent of completion, Glenn said she keyed in on four things that made it possible.

“The first thing was funding,” she said. “I’d like to thank Mardi McRae and Mr. John Dowdy for all their help with fundraising. It is a very thankless job to have to go out and ask people for financial support.”

She then addressed the crowd, thanking them for their donations and time.

“I don’t think any of us thought it could be this beautiful,” she said.

She went on to say the second thing that made the project a success was knowledge.

“There was a member on our board, Mr. Jason Lee, who owns Bates Engineering,” she said. “I think all of us on the Board can admit that without Jason planting the seeds of this project, it would’ve been unachievable.”

Glenn said Lee has taken on everything from the planning and engineering to pulling permits and being willing to be the general contractor.

“He’s done 90% of the heavy lifting,” she lauded.

Glenn said the third thing on her list was a location.

“We’ve been blessed twice with a location,” she said. “The first was 35 acres down by the athletic fields and that was a blessing and sort of a catalyst to get the ball rolling.”

After announcing the 35 acres, GCA was shocked to have Roy and Buddy Adams donate twice the amount of land on Faceville Highway.

“Here we can continue to grow our school and not just our athletic facilities,” she said, thanking the Adams family.

Finally, Glenn said the last thing that made this goal achievable was the Lord.

“Every time we went home at night thinking how are we going to do that, the Lord came through and blessed us with His grace,” Glenn ended.

Michael Smith, president of the Foundation Board, was the last to speak.

He explained the Foundation Board’s goal was to think long-term about how they can make decisions that will help the school, not just for now, but for future generations as well.

Smith then shared why the Foundation Board began with athletic fields.

“When you think about life, life is a team sport,” he said. “You set goals, you practice, you support the person behind you, who might not be able to catch up. We teach that to our kids through basketball, football and all other sports.”

Because of this, the Foundation felt like the students should have a world class athletic facility to develop that fully rounded person.

With that, Smith concluded his speech and McRae thanked everyone for coming.