New fellowship hall
St. Paul Lutheran Church, W2604 County Hwy P, Pine River, dedicated the brand new Gordy Brandt Fellowship Hall on June 9 with a special worship service. The fellowship hall also was opened to the public the following weekend as the church hosted a community picnic.
The project took about a year from conception to completion, stated Joe Shiefelbein, who co-chaired the building committee with Jerry Oestreich.
Attached to the church building, the new fellowship hall addresses the need for handicap access, bathrooms and fellowship area for the members, neighbors and community.
The church had formerly used its old school building as the site for church dinners and other activities. However, because of its split-level construction, that building could not easily be made handicap accessible. To reach the bathrooms or meeting hall required climbing or descending a flight of stairs.
The new fellowship hall solves those problems with its single-story construction and ground-level access.
“We needed bathrooms and this seemed like a good fit,” Schiefelbein said of the new 60-by-62-foot hall, which is attached to the northwest corner of the church. “We had bounced around other ideas for two or three years, but this really worked out well. The value versus the dollars spent is very high.”
The new addition sits over what was the church parking area. However, more parking space is being developed to the west on land that had at one time been a softball field.
The old school building will eventually be removed to create more green space.
The new fellowship hall will serve the congregation’s needs for all types of church functions, Schiefelbein noted. It will also be available to the community for rental. The hall can hold up to 120 people for weddings, anniversary parties, birthdays and other gatherings. Available dates can be viewed on the church’s web page at www.stpaulspineriver.com.
The hall features a full kitchen, where meals can be prepared, or offers options for catering.
The fellowship hall represents about a $250,000 investment for the church. The costs were cut considerably by donations, Schiefelbein said.
“Some very high end things were donated,” he said.
Metz Construction, which served as the lead firm on the project, put in a lot of extra work at no additional cost.
Gordy Brandt, who passed away last year, left the church a sum of money that helped with construction of the fellowship hall, which was named in his honor.