Church opens new location in old Huntsville high school

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- Butler High School was once the site of math tests and basketball championships. Now the school has been transformed into a new church. The Rock Family Worship Center has its grand opening Sunday morning.

The 240,000 square-foot facility was once Butler High School. The school moved to its location on Holmes Avenue in 1967 and closed in 2015. The Rock Family Worship Center purchased the property two years ago for $4 million.

After renovations, it reopens as a church but will preserve what the pastors say is the building's iconic history.

"Well It's all about restoration," said Rusty Nelson, a lead pastor.
 Restoration not only of buildings but of lives.

"We feel like that, we've had an assignment to take an iconic facility, that meant a lot to so many in our city, and to bring life to it again," he said. "There's laughter in the halls again, there's life taking place here.

The Rock started 19 years ago. This is it's the fourth location and is three times bigger than their last. They say they've already taken over half of it.

"He's always given us a building that can mirror what God does in people's lives," said lead pastor Leisa Nelson.

In the two years since they purchased the school, they say the community came together to paint the walls, clean the rooms and mow the yards.

The facility also houses the Huntsville Dream Center, GED courses, English as second language classes and classes for homeschoolers. As well as adoption service, foster care, offered to the community

"We partner with our city, we love our city," Leisa Nelson said. "We never one time have believed that he and I are all that and a bag of chips and that God called us to do it all."

The grand opening Sunday kicks off a month-long celebration. Part of that celebration will be a homecoming. August, 19th Butler graduates will come together for lunch, and a pep rally,  and to tour the building.