New Life Covenant Church SE has undertaken a project to build a new church, a performing arts center and an early childcare facility by replacing dysfunctional factories and abandoned buildings between the 7400 to 7800 blocks of S. Greenwood on Chicago’s south side, reports Dnainfo.com.
The senior pastor of the church John F. Hannah and his congregation have bought an one old factory which will be torn down and another that will be gutted, according to Suntimes.com.
The groundbreaking of the new $26 million, 100,000 sq. ft. church at 7600 S. Greenwood Ave. took place on Sept. 26, attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Aldermen Pat Dowell (3rd) and Michelle Harris (8th). The church campus on 74th and Greenwood in the Grand Crossing neighborhood will house the 4,000-seat performing arts center.
The 40,000 sq. ft. childcare facility will be built by renovating a factory just across the street from the church for $4 million. The 350-capacity facility will be for children up to age five and will serve as a weekend arts education center as well as a parents-day-out drop-off site for children up to age 12. It will be operated by the church with the collaboration of the Englewood-based Building Blocks Learning Academy.
The project also includes off-street parking, kiddie party rental space and performance space for professionals and children.
While the church is scheduled to be completed by December 2015, the early learning facility will be ready by March 2015. Once complete, the church currently located at 1021 E. 78th St. will be used as a youth center.
The church has approached Eta Creative Arts to find possible ways to create artistic synergy between its ongoing building renovations at 75th St. and the church’s plan. “What they’ve been doing, very smartly, is reaching out to stakeholders to see what alliances and collaborations could exist,” said Eta’s interim executive director Kemati Janice Porter.
“Anything that’s bringing more art and creative opportunities to the city, and especially the South Side, is a great thing,” says Heather Robinson, executive director of the Beverly Arts Center on 111th and Western which is currently undergoing a revitalization program.
Pastor Hannah said that the project is funded by the church and its members without public funds.