Though Sunday’s temperature high only reached roughly 42 degrees, members of Grace Community Fellowship braved the cold for what pastor Adam Utecht said was the “shortest groundbreaking ever” for their new church building.
“It was really windy and chilly so we had our service in the elementary school, and then we headed out right after to the site,” Utecht said.
The groundbreaking represented a milestone for the church, which was denied a new home when the city decided not to rezone the former Heartland Foods building in Hillsboro Heights.
The new church building will be located on N. Adams St. where the compost lot used to sit. The goal is to have the building done by the end of the year.
“It’s going to depend on the weather obviously,” Utecht said.
Utecht said the plan is to have a foundation work done by May and then have the exterior done by the end of June.
Though they plan to have the building done by the end of the year, the church still asked for a renewal of a yearly agreement they have with USD 410 at the district’s board meeting on Monday.
“We’re planning to extend it for one more year just in case we run into some delays,” Utecht said.
The agreement was approved 5-0 at the meeting.
“They anticipate not needing it for a year,” Heinrichs said, “but we just went ahead and made it for a year. You never know.”
Since April 9, 2012, the congregation had been meeting in the Hillsboro Elementary School gymnasium.
“The school’s been really good to us,” Utecht said. “We’ve had a good partnership with them.”
One reason why Utecht felt the school worked for the congregation up to this point was that it was in a familiar place.
“It’s a good atmosphere for people who have maybe been wounded by church in the past,” Utecht said. “It’s a non-threatening neutral environment, so that’s a good thing.
The church is wanting to keep that same kind of atmosphere in their new building.
“Our building will be somewhat similar,” Utecht said. “It won’t be a really traditional church type of building. It will look appealing, but our hope is to be a casual, friendly, welcoming environment for everyone.”
Though they’ve enjoyed their time in the school gym, Utecht said the congregation is ready for a place to call their own.
“We’ve been setting up, tearing down, and moving a trailer for five years, so I think we’re ready to take the next step,” Utecht said. “It’s pretty exciting but it’s also a big step of faith as any project like this would be.”