Saturday, June 22, 2024
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeAll The NewsBMA of Arkansas Building Has a New Neighbor

BMA of Arkansas Building Has a New Neighbor

The Arkansas Military and First Responders Academy (AMFRA) began classes on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at the former South City/Temple Baptist Church building in Little Rock, across the parking lot from the BMA of Arkansas Building. AMFRA is a tuition-free, military and first responders’ college preparatory academy. The curriculum emphasis is on pre-engineering, coding and cybersecurity. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) framework is utilized for leadership development.

In January 2023, AMFRA purchased the church facility from South City Church and immediately began remodeling the structure for school usage. The six-month project was completed on time and ready for the first day of school.

Due to many factors, South City chose to market the property in 2022. A deal was finalized in January 2023 with AMFRA for the sale of the facility. As a part of the sale agreement, South City will continue utilizing the school’s auditorium for their Sunday gatherings through August of 2024. South City is currently maintaining offices at 900 South Shackleford Road in Little Rock. They recently purchased a facility near their current offices at 317 South Shackleford Road in Little Rock. The facility formerly housed a PF Chang’s restaurant. 

The facility, located at 10710 I-30, was originally built for Temple Baptist Church in 1970. Prior to 1970, the church’s facility was on Wright Avenue in Little Rock. It was at a meeting at that location that the North American Baptist Association, later renamed the Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA), was organized in 1950. “After the move to the I-30 location, Temple Baptist Church, became known as ‘the flagship of the BMAA,’” said Dr. Tom Mitchell, veteran BMAA pastor.

On Easter Sunday 2017, Temple Baptist Church was relaunched as South City Church at the I-30 location.

In 1970, Temple Baptist Church sold three quarters of an acre of land to the BMA of Arkansas for construction of a facility to house the BMA of Arkansas State Missions headquarters and the Baptist Trumpet. The original BMA of Arkansas building was completed in 1976. Associational leaders and Temple Baptist Church leaders agreed to allow the BMA of Arkansas Missions and Baptist Trumpet staff to utilize church parking and to connect to the church water supply. That agreement was honored by South City Church as well.

With the sale of the church property, BMA of Arkansas State Missions and Baptist Trumpet are now required to rent parking and purchase water from the school. State Missions and the Baptist Trumpet are seeking a permanent resolution to the situation.

Throughout the construction phase, AMFRA Commandant Lt. Colonel Jason Smedley has invited the Missions and Trumpet Staff to be a part of the process with invitations to the various public events concerning the school and a guided tour of the facility.