Many people put on a few pounds over the holidays. State College Alliance Church put on 31,000 square feet — and it’s probably not coming off any time soon.
Luckily, five new classrooms, a commercial kitchen, cafe area and full-court gymnasium probably qualify more as muscle than fat. Members got to judge for themselves last weekend when Sunday services rolled straight into an open house.
“It was great, just hundreds and hundreds of people that were able to stick around,” lead Pastor Aaron Henning said.
Henning has been with State College Alliance for 16 years and by now he should be used to crowds. Last summer’s sports camp hosted about 600 young athletes. October’s Halloween extravaganza was also a big attraction, drawing more than 1,000 guests. The church also provides classroom space to students from Nittany Christian School.
We want to be a church that has a heart for its community.
Renovating was a way to expand those efforts and the building at the same time.
“We want to be a church that has a heart for its community,” Henning said.
Scott Long has been part of that community since 1984. His kids were baptized in that church. He taught Sunday school in that church. He serves on the elder board in that church.
For all of his long history of service, it was Long’s experience running Penns Valley Building Supply that made him an ideal candidate to assist with the development of the renovation project.
He said members responded enthusiastically in February 2015 when church leadership presented them with the barest bones of a concept. Long estimates that close to 100 people from the church contributed input prior to the design process. Members were encouraged to dream big.
“We kind of as a church caught a vision to do this and build this,” Long said.
We kind of as a church caught a vision to do this and build this.
Long coordinated with Horst Construction, a design and build company operating out of Lancaster, throughout construction. He said that the project moved quickly for a $6 million addition.
His walk through the completed space on Sunday was an uplifting experience.
“Everywhere you went in the building there were people laughing and very much enjoying the new space,” Long said.