Blue Springs Baptist Church building hope, and a campus
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Oct 07, 2013 | 1357 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue Springs Baptist Church
BLUE SPRINGS BAPTIST CHURCH PASTOR Richard Snyder stands in front of the former Blue Springs Elementary School gym. The church has painted the outside of the building and begun work on the interior.  Banner photo, JOYANNA LOVE
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Out of disaster and vandalism, hope is rising as Blue Springs Baptist Church moves toward establishing its campus on the old Blue Springs Elementary School site.

The school was damaged by a tornado on April 27, 2011.

What was once the elementary school’s gym is being renovated for the congregation to use before additional buildings can be constructed on the site.

A white cross on the property now marks it as the future home of the church.

“We do hope to have some morning worship services here and invite the community to come and join us,” Pastor Richard Snyder said. “We hope to be able to have some kind of memorial or recognition next year during the period of the anniversary of the tornadoes as well.”

A new roof, paint and trim for the outside, improved insulation and a septic system are some of the improvements the church has made. The gym floor that had been damaged by rainwater has also been removed.

A contractor who is a member of the congregation is serving as project manager for the renovation.

Snyder said the church had hoped to have its first service at the new location last month for the church’s homecoming. Now, the church is looking to November, according to Snyder.

“A lot of that will depend on when contractors are able to come in and put the floor down, do some painting,” Snyder said.

Fully moving to the new location will be done over time.

“There will have to be an interim period where some things are done at the old location and some things are done at the new,” Snyder said. “Ultimately, we would like to have a few other buildings over here.”

Snyder said the congregation is excited to move to a more visible location. He said at the current location some have trouble finding the church.

Moving also gives the church a chance to have a more modern facility. Increased parking will also be available when the church makes the move.

Work was halted temporarily when damage from multiple rifle shots was discovered on the front of the building.

“It was with an assault-style rifle and they just shot into the front of the building,” Snyder said.

Temporary repairs have been made to get the building back to where it was before the damage.

Blues Springs Church bought the land from Bradley County after it was abandoned by the school system.

At that time, the Bradley County Commission had said it would like to see a memorial to the victims of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes that tore through the area.

“That will be something we get with the county on, now that we can actually see a target date (to occupy the land),” Snyder said.

Weather has also been a factor in the project.

“We had one of the wettest summers I can ever remember, ever. So, constantly there was water in here on this floor,” Snyder said.

The pastor said members of the congregation have been positive about the move.

“The excitement’s building,” Snyder said.

An upstairs room on the gym will be converted into an area for missions teams to stay. The large room will be divided into sleeping areas and showers.

“Also these rooms could be used for Sunday School or for small meetings,” Snyder said. The church is also looking into launching an Upwards sports program, some time after it moves to the new location.