MARTIN — A large number of volunteers and community organizers were on hand Friday as Christian Appalachian Project hosted an event at the former home of the Mountain Christian Academy to witness a ribbon-cutting of the facility newly repurposed as the Louis T. Foley Mission Center.
Reconstruction of the 18,000 square foot facility as a mission center began in September 2011 and was completed just this month. The newly purposed center will house volunteer groups from around the country who will assist CAP with building projects and disaster relief. Plans for the center also indicate it will double as a shelter for local disaster victims, offering sleeping quarters, a dining area and a meeting room.
Guy Adams, president and CEO of CAP, said during the ceremony, “It’s amazing what this building was, and what it has become.”
CAP first operated Mountain Christian Academy out of the building from 1983 until the school’s closing in 2009.
Kathleen Lovell recalled tales of volunteers living in harsh conditions in their missions to Appalachia and said the new mission center was designed so those volunteers could focus on their purpose.
“That is what this facility is going to allow volunteers to do from now on. To focus on serving others. And to connect donors, and programs, and participants, and volunteers, and staff, in the name of Christ,” Lovell said.
According to organizers, the new mission center, which has both a male and female dormitory, will likely be able to hold at least 120 people at a time.
Jim Osterland, who has worked as part of the construction team, will be a permanent resident of the facility acting as a caretaker.