SMITHVILLE Upgrades and renovations at Smithville Baptist Church, 14157 County Route 75, are giving a new face and additional space to one of the areas oldest buildings.
The work is being done to accommodate the churchs rising membership.
Our congregation isnt just growing, its growing with a lot of young people, said the Rev. Thomas W. Wilson, pastor. Its a wonderful problem.
The stone church was built in 1832, and the Rev. Mr. Wilson said the old building wasnt user-friendly when it came to making upgrades.
Its good and solid, but its been a challenge, he said.
Among the work being completed in the main building is a new fellowship area, along with the creation of space for additional offices, a kitchen and bathrooms. The biggest physical change for the building is its downstairs, which has received new electrical and heating systems, along with a new set of stairs.
In the past few years, as work has progressed downstairs, fellowship events have been moved to the hall of the Smithville Fire Department.
The Rev. Mr. Wilson said the downstairs renovations alone have cost about $70,000, with labor costs cut with the help of a handful of volunteers.
The renovations are scheduled to be finished by the fall.
Work also is proceeding on a second building, which will be used by the church for additional fellowship areas and classrooms. A month and a half into the project, the structures shell already has been established.
The Rev. Mr. Wilson said the building, scheduled to be finished in the next few months, has a budget of $60,000 to $70,000.
In going through its renovations, the Rev. Mr. Wilson said, the church has received strong financial support from its membership, along with free materials and labor from several construction companies, including Holbrooks Building and Contracting, Hammers Construction, Davis and Sons Construction and Bauer Concrete and Masonry Inc.
Its just awesome to have that kind of support, he said. Its encouraging they believe in what were doing.
The Rev. Mr. Wilson said that in the next three years, he hopes a third building project can get under way. That would provide space for a new sanctuary.
An open house to show the progress of the churchs development work is scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 26.