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Buildings leveled to make way for borough church

December 27, 1999

Church expansionBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: DON AINES




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Three buildings along North Second Street were reduced to rubble in recent days to make way for the first phase of a major expansion project for the King Street United Brethren Church at 172 E. King St.

Construction on a new multi-purpose building on the site where the three houses once stood will begin early next year with completion scheduled for fall, according to the Rev. Matt Sargent, an associate pastor with the church.

Sargent said the lower level of the building will house a youth center. The main level will be used for some church services, sporting events, meals and community outreach programs, he said.

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Demolition and site preparation is being done by the Charles E. Brake Co. of St. Thomas. The church has not yet awarded a construction contract, Sargent said.

A crane scooped bricks and boards out of the foundations of the houses Monday, loading the debris into a procession of dump trucks.

There are 239 United Brethren in Christ churches in the United States with 25,000 members. The King Street church is the denomination's largest with a congregation of more than 1,500 members, according to Sargent. The sanctuary, however, only seats about 500 people and the church holds three Sunday worship services and two Sunday School classes to accommodate the congregation.

The expansion plans include building a new sanctuary immediately to the west of the existing sanctuary. It will seat up to 1,200 people. The project will require closing part of an alley that runs from East King Street to Lincoln Way East, according to the plans.

The plan will also expand parking for the King Street congregation, which was founded 121 years ago.

"We would like to see the entire project completed within three years," Sargent said. He said the total cost of the project will run between $6 million and $8 million.

The Rev. Patrick B. Jones said last year preparation for the project has been going on for years. The church has purchased most of the properties on the half block bordered by North Second, East King and North Main streets.

The church now owns all but two of the properties, a restaurant and a uniform shop along North Main Street.

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