A look inside Faith Academy's new bus. The two squares underneath the shelves are two of four television screens. A bathroom is in the back of the bus. Academy administrator Mark Earwood said he can envision coaches using road trips to play video tape and review game plans and opponents with teams. Courtesy photo
JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Faith Academy athletics program has a new team member. And it’s big and mobile.
The school recently purchased a 51-seat passenger bus for $35,000 for football and basketball road games and out-of-town track-and-field meets.
Officials saw the need for the bus as the school’s athletics program is expanding — the academy added a volleyball program, expanded from six-man to 11-man football and added permanent buildings last year.
The larger bus can do what the school’s 29-seat bus and two 15-seat vans could not: get every athlete and coach and all the equipment going to the same destination in one vehicle, Administrator Mark Earwood said.
“This allows the football team and support staff to all travel together,” he said. “Before, during the season, all the coaches couldn’t ride with them. It’ll also do the same for the basketball teams, since they go to the same location.”
And it should also get some use from the boys and girls track-and-field teams, he said.
As a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, the Flames travel to San Antonio and Dallas and everywhere in between.
But most important, if there was ever a reason to evacuate the campus, Earwood said officials have another vehicle to help with that effort.
“You pray you never have to do that, but you have to have a plan in case you do,” he said.
Faith officials put a large bus on their wish list a few months ago, and Earwood began researching and pricing them. New secretary Amy Burcham told him about a contact she had with Southwest Assemblies of God University and encouraged him to call.
That led to another phone call to a minister and wife in Waxahachie.
The couple owned five buses with individual heating and cooling vents for passengers, four TV screens for video, a restroom on board and overhead luggage storage.
Earwood said the couple had a business in which they were contracted to transport teams from one campus to another and even took groups to Branson, Mo.
But the wife became ill and the husband retired, so the couple wanted to sell their buses.
“We’re buying the nicest one in their fleet,” Earwood said. “What they wanted was to sell to another ministry.”
He said the $35,000 price tag was below market value, adding he had found a similar bus with twice the miles, that was twice the cost and was eight years newer.
Though the vehicle is larger than a typical school bus, that doesn’t mean drivers have to get a different license, Earwood said. The bus will need to be air-brake certified. Once that happens, the group of current drivers are already licensed, he said.
While athletes might want to watch a movie on the bus, Earwood said he sees other uses for those TV screens.
“I can see (football coach Russ) Roberts taking game film (on away games),” he said. “We feel like it’s a blessing from the Lord.”