Foundation Academy celebrates 60 years, looks to future

The private Christian school’s South Campus is poised for growth.

Dave Buckles, president of Foundation Academy, displays a 3D vision for the school campus.
Dave Buckles, president of Foundation Academy, displays a 3D vision for the school campus.
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A 3D model of the campus at build-out rests on a table in the front office, a constant reminder of the exciting plans that are in the works.

Foundation Academy is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and part of that celebration is the expansion of the South Campus on Tilden Road in Winter Garden.

Dave Buckles, Foundation president, presented his State of the Academy to staff, students and families recently — recognizing the school’s history and acknowledging its vision for the future.

With a total enrollment of 782 students — 402 on the North Campus and 380 on the South Campus —Foundation Academy is out of building space. Enrollment projections are on the rise, too.

“In the next two to five years, we will need to build classrooms with a lunchroom, we will need gym expansions,” Buckles said. “(But) we will never lose the traditions we have here at Foundation Academy, the family feel, community, a safe environment, supportive, caring and nurturing.”

The 3D model depicts a new, state-of-the-art fine-arts building as the focal point in the center of the campus. Opportunities for students will include seating for 750, drama and band rooms and lighting and sound for plays and other stage productions.

Beside it, a new classroom building will provide additional space. The first building will have about 20 classes, including science labs and classes for multimedia.

Buckles said Foundation Academy is looking to grow its media production for both radio and television.

The school is allowed to have up to 1,200 students on the South Campus, and the new buildings will allow the school to house an additional 820 students.

“We have enrolled, to date, three times more people for the upcoming school year than (we currently have) at this time,” Buckles said. “We’re at 88% retention, which is really high. People are standing in line to get in. It’s just a really neat time.”

Students in the media program did all the research and compiled their work to produce the State of the Academy videos that were shown.

“That’s one of the things that we brag about, that we keep up with technology and what’s going on around us,” Buckles said.

The State of the Academy also was broadcast live on Foundation’s Facebook page.



In 1958, a school ministry was started for kindergarten students at First Baptist Church in downtown Winter Garden. It expanded to include first through third grades in 1984, with plans to expand by one grade each year.

The school was named Foundation Academy in 1993, and an educational facility and Christian Life Center were added.

In 2002, a high school program was added and Foundation Academy bought 75 acres of land in south Winter Garden. Sixth- through 12th-graders were housed at the new campus starting in 2007. It is now called South Campus; North Campus for elementary-school students remains at First Baptist on Plant Street.


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