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'Raise the Roof' and more

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | April 9, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - They raised the roof. And put in more windows. And added a new entrance. And on Saturday, you can check it out. Christ the King Lutheran Church will celebrate its first major construction work in 20 years with an open house on Saturday.

COEUR d'ALENE - They raised the roof.

And put in more windows.

And added a new entrance.

And on Saturday, you can check it out.

Christ the King Lutheran Church will celebrate its first major construction work in 20 years with an open house on Saturday.

"It's fantastic," said Pastor Kirk Hille. "It's really beyond what we had planned to do in the beginning."

Planning on the $750,000 campaign called "Raise the Roof" began two years ago. Work started last year to remodel the church that was founded in 1955 and the sanctuary that was built in 1957

Hille said a new entrance was a key component. The main entrance now is in the back of the church.

"We didn't have an entrance that faced 17th, we didn't have a door that faced Pennsylvania where our address was, and so it was hard to find the entrance," he said.

No longer.

The entrance on 17th greets guests with large double doors, who will walk inside to a spacious, brightly lit foyer where the ceiling was raised and windows were added. A backlit stained glass cross - made with glass from the original sanctuary - will hang from the wall above.

Hille said another key to the project was replacing the roof.

"We have this huge collection of flat roofs that have been leaking since 1971," he said. "And also with the snow load the previous two winters, there was some concern about roof collapse."

It took 600 trusses to put in 33,000 square feet of pitched roof.

A third phase of the remodel was replacing the heating and air conditioning systems, adding new insulation and energy efficient windows.

"We're actually a much greener church now," Hille said.

Much of the work was done by church volunteers, an organization named Laborers for Christ and local contractors.

"Even some people from the neighborhood came and helped us out," Hille said.

The 500-member church saved money for years to help pay for the remodel, and the congregation pledged funds over a three-year period.

With its expansion, the church can serve more roles, Hill said.

"We're really looking forward to furnishing it kind of as a community center," he said. "Because we do have a lot of community groups use it. We think it will be much more useful."

Hill said there was talk for a time of the church moving from the neighborhood and finding a new site, perhaps on the Rathdrum Prairie.

The congregation instead opted to remain and even expand its reach into the community.

"They're really committed to staying here," he said.

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