A Shell Point church is making room for its growing congregation with an expansion that leaders began planning four years ago.
Praise Assembly, 800 Parris Island Gateway, is building an 850-seat sanctuary on its campus, according to pastor Rev. Jamie Gardner. The church broke ground on the building on March 30, and the sanctuary is tentatively scheduled to open in November, he said.
"We are trying to move as fast as we can."
Praise Assembly is part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination.
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The existing sanctuary was built in the late 1990s, Gardner said. The congregation has grown to 800 to 900 people who attend two services every Sunday in a sanctuary that holds, "on a tight day," 500 people.
His hope is to combine those services into one, and add another down the road as the congregation grows.
Church leaders began discussing the need for more space four years ago, and raising money for the $1.6 million church two years ago.
"What we're doing is endeavoring to put a lot of the state-of-the-art technology and equipment in there," Gardner said. "And then we'll turn our current sanctuary into a multi-purpose, youth rec area."
He said Praise Assembly wants to start some alternative programs, including a sports ministry. The new sanctuary will give it space to do that.
In other changes about town:
The Lady's Island/St. Helena Fire District has moved into its new headquarters at 146 Lady's Island Drive. Construction has been underway since September.
Firefighters spent their first night at the station Wednesday, though Chief Bruce Kline said some non-essential equipment still needs to be moved in.
A sign on the door of the old station at 237 Sea Island Parkway directs visitors to the new facility.
They are asked to use the side driveway -- which has a large station sign -- instead of pulling into the drive in front of the building. That area should remain clear for firetrucks.
The main entrance to the administrative building has a doorbell visitors can ring if they need help after hours, Kline said.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting will be from 10 a.m. to noon May 31. Because of limited on-site parking, attendees are asked to park at Beaufort High School and ride over in a shuttle that will be provided.
The fire district headquarter's phone number -- 843-525-7692 -- remains unchanged.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.