CLINTON — Walking up to Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, people can see a difference right away. The parking lot is smaller, but a large addition connects to the main entrance and sanctuary.
"There's been a lot of time and a lot of prayer put into this," said Pastor Jen Henry about the new and renewed spaces in the church. "As our building grows, so may we and our ministries."
Since the church broke ground on phase two of this project almost a year ago - phase one being the relocation of the daycare center to across the street - construction crews and volunteers have worked with 30,000 square feet, 5,000 of it new.
The community will have a chance to see the changes at a special dedication and celebration at 2 p.m. Sunday. Informal tours will begin at 1 p.m. and continue after the dedication.
Zion Project Manager Dennis Schoening said this project is a long time coming. Remodeling the church has been a topic of discussion for decades, but it was in 2003 that the church formed a facility planning committee to determine the congregation's future needs.
"It was always talked about, but never quite realized," Schoening said.
Henry said a vote among the congregation last year resulted in a 90 percent approval for a building project at a cost of approximately $2.3 million. The church held a fundraiser and took out a loan for the renovations. Mostly local contractors were used for the project, with Brian Johnson acting as the project manager for Clinton Engineering.
Henry said the project affected almost every area of the church, with two-thirds of it happening behind the walls. New energy-efficient lighting and a new heating and air conditioning system were added, along with new windows. The addition of an elevator will allow greater access to those in wheelchairs.