Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Out of room’ church expanding

October 10, 2007

The West Haven Baptist Church will look different in the summer of 2008.

The Tonganoxie church, at 1000 West St., is undergoing a $2 million expansion project. Once complete, the church will feature additional educational space, extra space for a youth ministry and a new fellowship hall for social events.

"The church is growing," Rev. Mike Bronson said. "We're completely out of room now. For instance, on Wednesday nights, the adults and youth have to meet at the Tonganoxie (Community) Historical Society."

Next summer, the church will be able to hold events in its own building.

After the expansion, which currently is taking place on the south side of the building, the church will be 32,000 square feet. It was half the size -- 16,000 square feet -- before the expansion.

The new space will feature two stories and be handicap accessible on both floors. The two stories will have elevators on them.

"The lower level will be for multipurpose use with movable walls, so you could use it for classrooms or open it up and have a big hall," Don Taylor, facility supervisor, said. "There will be a commercial-style kitchen that any restaurant would be happy with."

The expanded part of the church will be an all-brick structure that will match the existing building.

Taylor said the church thought about expanding years ago, but the high cost delayed construction.

Serious talks started in January and the church had a building campaign to raise money. Ground was broken in April and Taylor received blueprints on July 5.

The construction presently is in the foundation stage. Taylor started to install steel for the basement floor Monday.

The roof stage will follow. Once the lumber is dry, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other electrical outlets will be installed on the inside of the building.

Bronson, who has been at the church for 16 months, said the expansion was no surprise to churchgoers.

"It was obviously necessary," Bronson said. "There was no dispute in the congregation. They had talked about it years prior to my arrival. They decided to go for it when I got here."

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