Tonganoxie church takes another step toward new building
About 90 attend groundbreaking ceremony
As church and city officials prepared to break ground last week for the new Cornerstone Family Worship along U.S. Highway 24-40, one person found a penny as he began to shovel.
Members joked that the coin would go to the building fund.
And with that, Cornerstone Family Worship continued with its next step in the process of creating a new home for its congregation.
About 90 people were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place in the 200 block of U.S. Highway 24-40 where Sunset Motel formerly stood.
The church property will cover more than 10 acres. The first phase, a 26,000-square-foot facility that will serve as both a sanctuary and banquet hall when needed, is expected to cost about $2.7 million. The first phase also includes a kitchen and other amenities. A later phase would include a permanent sanctuary and “classrooms probably,” the Rev. Ron Swaim said Monday.
Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce president Steve Christensen and Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward told church members at the ceremony that the group was an important part of the community. The church helps the community in many ways and the new building was a testament to community members coming together for a common goal.
Roger Strickland with Strickland Construction of Olathe was on hand for the event, noting that he had ties to the area. He recalled riding horses north of the property as a child.
Swaim said at the groundbreaking he was unsure when exactly the church could move forward and start construction, but that members should continue to trust in God.
“Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you,” he said.
Cornerstone presently is at 128 E. Sixth St. in a 6,000-square-foot structure.
Because of growing membership, the church has its services at the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center on the Tonganoxie High School campus.
The current church’s future could be as a new Tonganoxie police station, as it is a candidate to be repurposed for that use. Midwest Carpet Center in downtown Tonganoxie is another possibility.
Cornerstone previously had plans to build on 26 acres east of Tonganoxie near 198th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40. But then came the opportunity to purchase the acreage inside the city limits.
Cornerstone Family Worship’s pastor said the existing church seats about 120 or 130. The main sanctuary at the new church would seat 500 with an overflow of 200 with closed-circuit televisions elsewhere at the church.
Membership is around 400, Swaim said, with average attendance being between 220 and 250 on Sundays at TPAC.
Swaim said the church is about halfway to its initial goal of raising $1.2 million for the project. There also are several pledges out there, he said.
The next order of business is to get the property cleaned up further and ready to pour concrete.
Once everything is figured out with the bank and the contractor, the group can move forward with the building process, Swaim said.
Sarah Swaim, the pastor’s daughter and a recent Kansas State University graduate, designed the church plans.
Ron Swaim said his daughter also created interior pictures and graphics.
“That part of it might be slower coming because she has way better taste than we have money,” Swaim said with a laugh. “She did an excellent job with the project.”
The minister said he was pleased with last week’s ceremony and looks forward to the next benchmarks along the project’s way.
“I just am always impressed with the commitment of our folks and the excitement they share with starting a new adventure,” he said. “This is definitely a new adventure. They’re good people.”