Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 24, 2004

Montrose church to double capacity with new addition

By Liz Hellmann

Members of the United Methodist Church in Montrose celebrated four years of planning with a groundbreaking Sunday for a new addition.

Pastor Elizabeth Hadler led the congregation in a special service, which started inside and moved outside as everyone, including the children, participated in the groundbreaking.

As Montrose grows in size and population, the Methodist church recognizes its opportunity to do the same, Hadler noted.

The congregation is looking to add new members, and invite more families to join the congregation, she said. This means more space.

The present church building can accommodate around 100 worshipers comfortably; with the addition it will be able to handle 200.

Construction for the new addition begins in June, and is planned to be completed in one year.

As the church moves ahead, it doesn’t want to leave the traditions of the church behind.

Tom Peterson, the architect from Station 19 in Minneapolis who is hired to work on the new addition, stated the goal of the project as being “A bridge of blending the old with the new.”

The church has a long history that it does not want to forget.

The original building was built in 1953, and the congregation will celebrate 120 years of fellowship in the year 2006.

But with 168 members, and growing, the church looks to the future.

The south wall of the addition is movable, so it can be pushed back and construction can begin when even more space is needed.

Sharon Knodel, the general chair of the building project, identifies the church’s need for more space and more handicapped accessibility as the primary focus of the building project.

“We want to be able to open our doors for more people,” Knodel said. “It is not so much the building; the church is made up of the people. But we need a space to be able to provide for diversity of faith,” Knodel said.

Currently, the church has only one classroom downstairs, which is not handicapped accessible.

The only restrooms in the building are also located in the basement, which is down a narrow flight of stairs.

The new addition will update accessibility by adding an elevator, and making restrooms and fellowship areas more available. It will also add more classrooms.

There is a problem with noise control right now, because there is only one large classroom that is divided by tables.

The new addition will add separate classrooms and office space, allowing more privacy and better learning environments for the church’s youth, which is growing.

“We are getting more members and young kids, and seeing an increase in our youth,” Knodel said.

The existing sanctuary will become the fellowship area, and allow room for overflow. A new sanctuary and nursery will be built, and a new sound system installed.

The addition will cost about $650,000.

The church was able to work with the Citizens State Bank to provide financing.

“The United Methodist project would not be possible without the Citizens State Bank,” Knodel said.

The support and prayers of the many dedicated members of the church also helped the project move from its planning stage into reality.

As the church looks to open its doors to more people through different evangelism efforts, it recognizes how far it has come and the work that still lies ahead of it.

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