In 1989, a large number of faculty and students from another school in Tuscaloosa saw an opportunity to contribute to A.C.A. and joined the school. The student enrollment increased from 120 students to over 400. This influx of students created new problems. The first project was to improve the athletic facilities. The football field was graded and an irrigation system, which derives its water from the creek, was installed. A bleacher system was built and a new field house was constructed. All of these projects were done with help from students and their parents. Football players would practice in the morning, and then they would lay sod on the field at night!
We needed a lot of equipment and school supplies for the beginning of school that year. A school in Mississippi closed and auctioned all of its school items. The Lord provided football equipment with red, white and blue colors. We purchased relatively new desks, chairs, and lunchroom tables at extremely low prices. We bought a complete library of books for just $2,500. All of these things had to be loaded and hauled to A.C.A. The library books were unloaded at 2:00 a.m. one morning. That year we were so cramped for space that we ate in the gym. Imagine moving all the tables and chairs and mopping the gym floor each day!
Fortunately, the next summer we added a new cafeteria, again with mostly volunteer labor. During the school year, we put hardwood on the gym floor. One day students came into the school to find hundreds of 2 X 4's glued to the floor. Yet, the students took all of these changes in stride with no complaining. The following summer we added the upstairs classrooms and offices. Still, we were cramped for space. In 1993, we began to pray for some portable classrooms. Again, the Lord provided. We were able to purchase the office unit used at the Oliver Lock and Dam site. Again, parents and students helped with the remodeling. Parents also worked hard on the playgrounds, flower gardens, and parking lots.
The impact of a new location for ACA will touch the lives of students for years to come. On Dec. 20, 2002 American Christian Academy took possession of the former Eastwood Middle School on Veterans Memorial Parkway from the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. The enlarged classrooms and extra space changed the atmosphere in the school. The students did not have to go outside to the “portables” for class. The gym was isolated from the rest of the school so the traffic across the floor was reduced. The most significant aspect of our move last January was the phenomenal involvement of our families in the completion of the move. Everyone seemed willing to do whatever it took to get the school ready. From scraping old wax to cleaning toilets, there was no job too demeaning for us. We did what it took and on Jan. 27 we started school. There will be more to accomplish. But we have the foundation to continue to build the finest school in the country! We are so thankful for the families that, with God’s help, make us what we are.
As we begin to look at the the upcoming year, we are thankful for God’s provision for the football, baseball, and softball fields. Many of our students and parents put hundreds of hours of labor into these fields. We laid sod, irrigation, picked up garbage, put up fencing and netting and did other things necessary to make them the finest fields in the area. Last summer, artificial turf was installed on the football and soccer field. This surface will provide years of safe, reliable conditions for our student athletes and reduce the number events canceled due to rain.
This year as God provides the money; we will be working on several special projects. Again, there will be times when we will need your help. There will be times when we ask you to stay out of certain areas for your safety. Please be in prayer as we work together to provide something all of us can take a special pride in seeing how God has helped us develop something to honor Him.