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Maple Springs Baptist builds back after arson destroys its building

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of an early morning fire that destroyed Maple Springs Baptist Church. The fire was later confirmed an arson, and no arrests have since been made.

Though the flames have long been extinguished, their devastation is still very real to the displaced congregation, whose hopes of moving into a new building were delayed due to problems encountered in the first phase of construction.

First of all, the foundation required extensive work after a soil analysis revealed three springs flowing under the site. Workers installed special drains, 8-foot concrete pilings, five layers of gravel, and matting under the 6-inch concrete floor.

“Not only did it cost us more time, but it (also) cost us more money,” said the Rev. Roland Davis, the church’s pastor.

Another hurdle presented itself when a bank between the cemetery and the construction site caved, chain link fence and all. This mandated the building of a retaining wall alongside the cemetery, which sits on a hill behind the church.

Last week, however, crews were able to move up from the ground and begin work on the metal frame.

“It’s just been a slow process, but everything’s on the go now,” Charles Andrews, building committee member, said.

A 6,400-square foot building will eventually stand on the site. The sanctuary will measure about 2,500 square feet.

Construction will have to be done in phases, however, because the church lacks the borrowing power to do it all in one step, Davis said. Phase one is the exterior, phase two is the sanctuary, and phase three will be Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall.

The lowest cost estimate on the project is $485,000. Davis estimates they will need $200,000 to match that amount.

“We’re just really anxious to get it all settled,” he said. “We appreciate all the help and support the community has given, especially Samaria Baptist Church for allowing us to use their old facilities for our church.”

Maple Springs has received help from the Chilton Baptist Association and the Alabama Baptist State Convention. Also, Clanton First Assembly of God donated pews and West End Baptist Church offered to donate pews. Davis also thanked Don Liveoak for cleaning up the site and grading the land.

For those who would like to make a donation, a fund has been set up at Regions Bank under the name “Maple Springs Baptist Church New Start.”