By Erica Thomas, managing editor
SPRINGVILLE — A new project in Springville will bring the community together and benefit people of all ages.
A groundbreaking ceremony for The Depot, a regional community center, was held on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. The proposed facility is right under 60,000 square feet and will provide everything from recreation, arts, education, and more.
Surgance, a not-for-profit 501c3, held the groundbreaking ceremony, along with Faith Community Fellowship. The two entities worked together to get the project started and now, Surgance will continue the vision and will own and operate the property.
Faith Community Fellowship’s Springville Campus Pastor Mike Ennis said his church will also be a tenant of The Depot.
“As a church, our mission is ‘love God, love people’ so, this just gives us the opportunity to do that in a very practical way,” Ennis said.
The development will be on 20.43 acres at 8600 US Hwy 11. In several phases, The Depot will be built to make the community and the people in it stronger and to give them more opportunities. It will be available, not only to citizens of Springville but to anyone in St. Clair County. Surgance said it hopes to bring public, private, civic, social, and faith-based organizations together and address needs such as education, health, life skills, and other needs.
Along with the church, there will be a gym area and gathering places for a place for people to focus on health and wellness.
“Alabama ranks at the very bottom economically in health in the nation and so the real genesis in all of this was what we could do to change that,” said Ennis.
On the education front, which will be the primary focus for Surgance, there will be various components.
Surgance said regional, state and national organizations have provided input to the childcare and education committees involved in The Depot. The plan is to offer early childhood education, virtual school, a STEAM Academy and STEM.
Within the next 30 days, there will be a private school in modular buildings on the property. That school will transition into another area eventually, Ennis said.
Adults will not be left out of the equation of The Depot.
“There’s nothing in the community that is adult, recreational programming, so this will provide a space for that,” Ennis said.
Plans for The Depot also include a community cafe and catering kitchen, multipurpose rooms, conference rooms, coworking areas, an auditorium, a teen center, and independent living.
At the end of the day, Faith Community Fellowship needed a new building in Springville, and Ennis said this partnership and design was the best way to make that happen while still providing for the community.
“We wanted to build something that would be alive and used every day,” Ennis said.
The first phase of the project, which will be a 10,000 square-foot building, is expected to be completed by June of 2022.
For more information, visit www.TheDepotCampus.com.