The building plan for a new Carlisle United Methodist Church facility took a step forward last week when Carlisle Borough Council approved its final land development plan.
The church formed from the merger of Allison, First and Grace United Methodist churches on July 1, 2013. The congregation now meets at 45 S. West Street, but has been planning for some time to make a move.
“We all recognized in order to grow and to be attractive to future generations, it was something we needed to do,” said Jeff Barnes, chairman of the church’s building committee.
About a year ago, the congregation purchased a 24.77-acre site next to the Giant Food Stores location on South Spring Garden Street. About 1.3 acres of the site is in the borough, the rest sits in South Middleton Township. The primary work to be done in the borough involves access to the site.
“We will extend East Baltimore Street to borough standards, put a cul-de-sac at the end of it, and, when all is done and built, it will be dedicated to the borough,” Barnes said.
The church will seek approval from South Middleton Township for the remainder of the site, which will include the church building, parking and recreational facilities.
Barnes said the 61,000-square-foot building is in the design stages, but the church is making good progress on its plan. The design-build process has kept the contractor, Arthur Funk & Sons of Lebanon, involved from the beginning, which allows real-time pricing to keep costs under control. Walden Studio Architects from Columbia, Maryland, is designing the church.
“We are blessed with a terrific architect and a terrific general contractor,” Barnes said.
The new structure will bring “great improvements for our ministry,” Barnes said.
For example, the day care at CUMC is now broken into sections throughout the church. The new structure will have an entire wing dedicated to the day care, and will give the children more outdoor play space than the current “postage stamp” sized area, he said.
The church is in the midst of the first of three planned capital campaigns to raise money for the project. If all the permitting and plan approvals go as expected, groundbreaking for the building should occur in late summer.
The plans are expected to be discussed at the South Middleton Township planning commission at its Jan. 16 meeting.