First Baptist breaks ground on additionPublished 3:15pm Sunday, June 30, 2013
The congregation of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka has embarked on a building project to expand the church’s youth ministry and provide a new option for worship, study and fellowship.
Ground was broken last month on a new multi-purpose building on the church’s historic Bridge Street campus. The new 13,700 square-foot youth facility will feature a worship center able to seat around 250, classroom for the church’s almost 70 youth members and a more comfortable, intimate place to welcome visitors to the church and host small gatherings.
When worship or Sunday school isn’t going on, the main hall will also feature basketball goals and other amenities for recreation, according to pastor Dr. James Troglen.
“Just about anything you can imagine we can use it for,” said Troglen, who has served the church for around 30 years. “We needed more students space, and the other places in the church weren’t conducive to working with youth.”
He said the building was designed with multiple purposes, and much of the two-story building will feature mobile partitions to create rooms as big or as small as church members require.
Youth minister Bart Teel said it as “exciting” to break ground on such an important project, which they hope can be completed by mid-December.
“We’ve been thinking about it for more than a year and a half,” Troglen said. “We had a real need to get some bigger spaces for the youth of our church.”
Neither the fellowship hall nor First Baptist’s historic old chapel was a good fit for youth events, he added.
Their initial wish list put the price north of $3 million, Troglen said, but “we’re not in that position in the current economy.”
So instead, they aimed to do more with less and their target number was around $1.5 million.
The bids, he added, came in even lower than that.
“We’re not going to build a cheap facility, but we’re also not trying to go over the top,” he said. “This is a good time to build if you’re able.”
He said the church will embark on a “Challenge to Build” program in the fall, to solicit the congregation’s help offsetting the expense of the project.
Troglen said the location on Bridge Street will also help the church expand their ministry during major events like Christmas on the Coosa, when “a lot of people will walk by.”
It could also serve as an alternative to the Wetumpka Civic Center for groups in need of a meeting hall.
The architecture, he said, won’t be the same as the current church, but it won’t clash either.
“We changed the style because the purpose of the building is different,” he said.
The project will also include renovating church’s parking areas, adding a more attractive lighting scheme and adding some spaces.