"We feel very blessed to be at this point," said Robin Walker, one of the church's six elders that include Pastor Chad Bennett. "It was in our 10-year plan to be in our own building. Now seemed to be a good time to move forward."
Organized seven and a half years ago, the Monett Community Church purchased 20 acres in the Monett Industrial Development Corporation's Industrial Park shortly after the city bought land for the Justice Center and built the road bisecting the land. The church acquired the eastern half and paid off the debt about a year ago.
Plans for construction were put on hold after a fire displaced the church in September 2009.
The church originally began meeting at the City Park Casino. Ike Hemphill offered to rent the church space in the Masonic Temple building across the street from the post office on Fourth Street. After Hemphill moved out of the area, the church purchased the Masonic Temple but still had an eye for a new building.
"The old building didn't fit," Walker said. "People struggled to get up the stairs for services. We had almost completely rewired the building when the fire occurred, which was traced to an extension chord that failed."
Thanks to the generosity of Glen and Sharon Garrett, the congregation has met since the fire at the old First United Methodist Church at Fourth and Cale, which was unused at the time of the fire.
The architectural firm of Hagerman New Urbanism, which built the Ozark Technical College campus in Ozark, Linn Technical College and several churches, developed a design for a new church. Renderings of the structure have been on display in the congregation's current meeting place.
"We decided in July to move forward," Walker said. "We went to bid on Sept. 14. We hired Larry Snyder and Company as general contractor out of five bidders. We had 20 subcontractors at the pre-construction conference. Companies are eager for the work."
The church will face north toward Cleveland. The driveway will be directly across from the east entrance into the Ramey's parking lot. The west entrance will be off Bridle Lane, directly across from the driveway into the Justice Center.
A four-phase construction plan has been developed. The initial building will be 10,500 square feet with the main meeting area taking up three-quarters of the footprint on the east. A wide gathering hall will run down the west side between the meeting room and a two-story wing on the west for classrooms. A basement is planned behind the building.
The west wing will remain unfinished until the second phase. In the third phase, the church will build to the east with a new sanctuary. The fourth phase will extend construction to the south, building additional classroom space over the basement, wrapping around and merging with the classrooms on the west. When complete the church will have 18,000 square feet.
The design for the meeting room includes the option of clearing the room for concerts and fellowship gatherings.
The new church will have room to seat 300 in the sanctuary. There will be six classrooms in the new church initially. The church has 15 groups that presently meet in homes for Bible studies and Sunday school, a practice that will continue, Walker said.
The roof is another distinctive feature of the new church building with a butterfly construction spreading out for 23 feet from the center. Walker said the special design offers a good alternative to flat roofs and will fit in well with nearby structures like the high school.
Vaughn Dirtworks has begun moving earth for construction. Snyder and Company have a trailer on site. Walker anticipated that as soon as the infrastructure has been installed, work on erecting the building will start. Construction on the first phase is due to be finished by Aug. 1, 2011.
Walker said the church has been working on its master plan for about four years. The fire made moving forward a higher priority.
"This new church building will be a tool that will help us fulfill the purposes of the church -- worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and missions, in Monett," Walker said.