The main part of the building planned for demolition was built in 1903 and was renovated and added on to several times since, most recently in the 1960s.
Members of the church were looking into renovating the old building for about five years, but they haven’t been able to do it financially. A fire that started inside forced church members to decide between renovations and starting anew.
“After the fire was out, we looked into doing some renovations, and the wiring was outdated and things were out of code, so we put together a plan, and the timing was right for us, and everything just worked out,” said church member and chairman of building Alex Piercey.
“As I’ve learned, it costs a lot more money to try and renovate than to start from the ground up and go back up new,” said Pastor James Patton.
The plan the church put together is a three-phase project. Replacing the old building is phase one of the plan and will take about five to six months.
“The first phase is going to be the classrooms and an updated nursery that will tie in to [the other] sanctuary and the fellowship hall in the back,” said Piercey.
While there is sadness within the church to see the old building go, there is also optimism about what’s to come.
“The people I’ve talked to hate to see it go, because it’s part of the history of Watertown,” said Piercey. “When we presented the plan to tear the old sanctuary down and rebuild, we had a church vote, and it was unanimous to go forward with the plan.”
Patton emphasized the importance of the new building in the church’s future plans.
“This building is not coming down due to neglect. We’ve just worn it out doing the great commission work, and we can’t go the direction that we feel like God wants us to go,” said Patton.
The church has already begun the demolition process on the old building and will begin construction of the new one as soon as that is completed.