God's new digs

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May 2, 2016 12:49 PM

Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster, was on hand to make a few remarks at the grand opening of the modernization of the Grace United Church. The event was open to the public and offered tours of the church's new renovations.

The people of the Grace United Church invited the public to the grand opening of its modernization, which featured lunch, guest speakers, a presentation on the building’s history and tours of the renovations.
“(It feels) terrific, it’s been quite a road we’ve been on; quite a journey and we’re finally here,” said Les Ellis, co-chair of the building committee.
The road he was referring to was the four-year process it took from discussions to designing to finding a contractor, and then the actual build itself—a journey that took four years and cost a little more than $4 million.
The renovations were needed, though, because problems with the roof had members of the church placing containers on the floor when it rained to catch water leaking through the ceiling, as well as other problems with the windows that needed to be addressed.
Instead of pinpointing each individual problem and fixing them singularly, it was decided a full renovation should be done, which would better the whole building for decades to come. 
“A whole new kitchen is one of our big features; it’s a state of the art kitchen, but outside of that we certainly expanded the hall size by maybe two and-a-half times,” said Ellis.
“We have new offices, new meeting rooms and we have a full sized basement, which at the moment is still open to development and that was our plan, that we would develop it later.”
Some of that potential development could be new washrooms and some space for rentals by youth groups to use, he said.
An interesting aspect of this new incarnation of the Grace United Church is it sits on the sanctuary’s original site, which was chosen in 1906.
There have been other rebuilds and additions over the years, but the church is still in the same spot as it has been for more than a century and Garry Cunningham, fellow co-chair of the construction committee, said this was by no means an accident.
“To me it was the way to go because people were used to it here and we have to help the needs of people downtown, and by staying here we could hopefully achieve that,” he said.
The four year time frame and $four-million price tag of the project still saw it come in on time and on budget.

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