The St. Luke Lutheran Church in Collegetown is expanding into a neighboring building to provide more space for community members.
The church, which is located on Oak Ave., is one of the few public meeting spaces in Collegetown. Community groups that meet there include classes for English as a Second Language, Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Girl Scouts and the Hong Kong Christian Fellowship.
“We needed more and better space so we can provide that kind of community,” said Pastor Rick Bair, who also works with Cornell United Religious Work.
The church discussed the issue for two years as the community grew and formal surveys were drawn up to decide what the church needed most. The project “came out of the church people,” said Pastor Bair. “The enormous amount of [community and alumni] support … we have has really been spectacular.”
The result was this expansion project. Goals of the project include making more space for children, dedicating more space for campus related activities, revitalizing the worship space and making the building accessible to all people.
The church originally planned to remodel an adjacent house to increase school space. However, because the house was constructed from a wood frame, the floors above the first floor could not be used for public meeting because of fire safety.
The house was demolished and a new building is currently under construction on the east side of the church. The new building will consist of a basement and two floors.
The new basement will contain a chapel, choir rehearsal rooms and two rooms for adult education.
The first floor will have a campus ministry lounge including comfortable furniture, computers and a kitchenette.
“Students can use it as a drop in, comfortable place,” said Pastor Bair. This floor will also have a group of offices and two nurseries.
“Kids are a very important part of the community,” said Pastor Bair. “The community was founded by students at Cornell. It’s now a wonderful mixture of people.”
The second floor will be the location of the church school. An elevator will make access to the school easier.
This past summer, the main worship space was also renovated. For two months the congregation met downstairs while pews were removed, the chancel area redone, the organ removed and redone, the balcony expanded and new lights installed.
The buildings will eventually be connected and Pastor Bair hopes the project will be completed by Christmas.
Archived article by Anastasia Handy