A Christian school in southwest Orlando plans a major expansion of its athletic facilities and is seeking a general contractor for the $10.5 million project.
The First Academy plans to create a field house/gymnasium that will have regulation size volleyball and basketball courts, what the school calls a collegiate-type weight room, new athletic offices and a new drop-off and pick-up lane for students.
The 30,266-square-foot facility will seat 900 and be built on part of the 130 acres that make up the First Baptist Church of Orlando, which owns the school.
The current gym, built in 1994, is 20,000 square feet, has just one practice court and sits considerably fewer people.
The 29-year-old school is located off John Young Parkway and L.B. McLeod Road.
The new gym is being built for a couple of reasons, said Matthew McGee, assistant head of school.
The school's population of 1,370—from pre-school to high school--has made athletic activities cramped.
Also, "We desire that the school make an impact on students' lives as Christian leaders and we truly believe athletics is a key training component in the development of a leader," McGee said. "There are lessons you learn on the field that you can't learn anywhere else."
The school is in the midst of raising money for the project, turning to students' parents and grandparents. So far, $7.4 million has been raised. If it doesn't work out, and the school can't reach $10.5 million, alternatives will be considered, McGee said.
Planning for the project has been going on for two years, with a general contractor yet to be hired. McGee said ground is planned to be broken in January.