STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — By this time next year, the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football team will have completed its first season in its new stadium.
In a Dec. 18 media release, school officials announced a three-phase, $5.9 million expansion that includes a new football stadium, softball and baseball fields, a gymnasium, and tennis courts.
Phase 1 is for the football stadium, which includes a track and parking lot with a projected $2 million price tag, Faith athletics director Randy Denton said.
A generous donation by Horseshoe Bay residents Ray and Rebeca Britton will help get the phase one construction off and running in early 2018.
“This is a huge contribution, and this contribution moves us forward into having a fabulous athletic complex in advance of what we had expected,” said Faith Academy Board Chairman Stuart Nunnally. “We simply didn’t have the funds to move forward in an athletic complex. Therefore, this launches the entire program, and we think, as a result of this lead gift, others will follow.”
Nunnally added that the Brittons “are a fabulous couple who love to support Christian education.”
Faith announced in November it would return to six-man football, which means the field will be 80 yards long. However, Denton said the stadium would be constructed to accommodate six-man and 11-man football teams as well as soccer teams.
“Even though we don’t have soccer as a school, we want to have the capability of (hosting) soccer games, playoff games, youth soccer,” he said.
Denton said school officials have already started working with architects on the look of the new facility.
The football field will have natural grass, and watering it won’t be an issue since the school is on the city of Marble Falls’s water system.
Denton said there’s a possibility the football field and parking lot will be finished in time for the 2018 season. Once football wraps up, workers will return to put the final touches on the track to have it ready for the 2019 track season.
The second phase calls for the construction of the baseball and softball fields. Phase three includes the new gymnasium and tennis courts.
Nunnally said athletics are a major part of what bonds the students together. The Flames are known for their unconditional support of one another during home games and college signings and will sometimes attend practices just to support one another.
Faith juniors Cameron Bowles and Payton Lackey embody that spirit. The two had never played football, but when they heard the 2017 Faith football squad needed more bodies for the season, they stepped up.
It’s that type of spirit school officials believe makes athletics a vital part of the Faith experience.
“We feel athletics has been a very important part of growth and life of the school, and we have no intention of cutting back in our athletic programs,” Nunnally said. “Our goal is to have (all three phases) completed within 18 months. That’s the goal.”
Once the football stadium and track are complete, Denton envisions hosting track meets for all ages, youth soccer games, summer league track meets, and other matchups.
“There have been a lot of changes at Faith Academy that led up to all of this,” he said. “As the athletics director, I’m very excited but very humbled and feel very blessed. It’s a big thing, not only for us but for the community. It’s very exciting.”