Funkstown church prepares for renovation project

June 19, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • While sitting in St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church's Fellowship Hall, Lay President Dan Miller talks about major upcoming renovations to the church in Funkstown.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — After decades of raising money and years of making preparations to renovate St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church’s fellowship hall in Funkstown, parishioners could begin to see those efforts take effect in August.

Church officials expect to open bids for the project at the end of June for a major renovation of the fellowship hall, and work could begin in August, said Barry Warrenfeltz, chairman of the church’s building and property committees.

The fellowship hall, at 24 E. Baltimore St. in downtown Funkstown, will be gutted, leaving the foundation and exterior walls, Warrenfeltz said. The hall was built in 1954.

The project was driven by a moisture problem in the basement, where dampness gets into the walls due to humidity, he said. Warrenfeltz said there is no mold in the building.

The project, which Warrenfeltz said could cost $650,000 to $850,000, also will make the building handicap-accessible. An elevator will be installed in the two-story building and four more handicap-accessible bathrooms will be added.

The work is expected to take 10 months to a year to complete, he said.

Parishioners will be asked to carpool to church services during the renovation because about half of the church parking lot will be used to hold construction equipment, he said.

One parking space at the nearby Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown also will be lost temporarily during construction as the church upgrades stormwater management to comply with state laws, Warrenfeltz said.

Currently, stormwater from the church and the veterinarian office’s parking lot goes into an underground pipe and into neighbors’ yards, Warrenfeltz said. After the renovation, the stormwater will go through the pipe and surface in a small stormwater pond.

The church, with about 250 parishioners, hosts a potluck in the fellowship hall after Sunday services.

Parishioners will need to find an alternate space for the potlucks, as will five Scout groups and the Funkstown Senior Citizens who use the hall for meetings, Warrenfeltz said.

The building’s interior will be gutted and the old roof removed, Warrenfeltz said.

The renovation will include a modern kitchen being installed on the main floor, which is more convenient to events than the current basement kitchen, he said.

Central air conditioning will be added and the hall’s electrical system will be upgraded, he said.

The church has been saving for the project since 1982 and has about half the amount needed for the project, Warrenfeltz said. Church officials have lined up preapproved loans with three banks to cover the difference.

The church will hold fundraisers to help pay off the loans, he said.

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