The old buildings in Cleveland, Tennessee, were greatly in need of repair—but with renewed hope, many people embraced the challenge to renovate the campus. And while Dr. Bob Sr. recognized the need for adequate buildings, he understood the greater importance of a biblical philosophy of education. To this day, BJA considers a philosophy founded on the Word of God to be of utmost importance in the education of children.
The campus originally consisted of Old Main, a T-shaped brick building with white columns and curved front stairs. Classrooms, auditorium, administrative offices, library, dining room, and a swimming pool were on the ground floor. The second floor had dorm rooms, designed for two students each. A fallen down garage, a heating plant, a kitchen, and several other outbuildings were in the rear.
Massive work was needed to be ready for September. Virtually every window in the building needed to be replaced. The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce gave $10,000 and supplied volunteer work to help get the campus ready. Other donations and the fact that during the Depression labor was extremely cheap (skilled carpenters willing to work for 25 cents an hour) permitted BJC and BJA to open on schedule.
Over 700 people attended the September 6 opening meeting in the school’s auditorium. Local dignitaries spoke and Jones Sr. told the community of the school’s philosophy—“Education with God left out will ruin our civilization; education with God left out is worse than no education. The aim of Bob Jones College is to combine learning with the principles of Christ.”
Because of the influx of students later in the week, Jones Sr. indicated that the school was crowded, but “room will be made for all who come, even if members of the faculty have to be crowded out into private homes or nearby residences have to be engaged to house the overflow” (Turner, 57).
(Pinkston, W.S. (2016). A History of Bob Jones Academy.)
Turner, D.L (2002). Standing Without Apology. Greenville, SC: BJU Press.
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