LAKE PLACID — After 15 years of prayer, discussion and study, a “god-sized” project is being built to serve as a “blessing” to the community, according to Rev. Ray Cameron, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Placid.
The 20,000-plus-square-foot hall/center, with a total cost of over $2 million, is being built by the church, located at 118 N. Oak Ave.
“We hope is will be a great blessing to the community with its size and events,” Cameron said. “It’s huge for us.
“It’s a God-sized project. We don’t think we could do it if God was not in it.”
The official ground breaking was held on Palm Sunday (March 24), 2013 before the winter residents left, he said. But the actual construction started around late August/early September. Construction should be completed in the second quarter of 2015.
“We see it as a building that will be used often in our community,” Cameron said.
The building, which will be called “The Genesis Center,” will have a full kitchen and will accommodate 700 to 800 in the main auditorium and 500 to 550 for table settings.
A large foyer, which can be serviced by the kitchen, will be utilized for receptions, intermissions and overflow, Cameron said.
The center is being built as a venue for fine arts performances and music concerts and to “encourage and foster the arts in Highlands County that historically has been something that the church has very much fostered,” Cameron said.
The past two years the church’s youth have participated in fine arts competitions at the state level.
“It is kind of a friendly competition and encouragement to develop gifts and the youth have done very, very well,” Cameron said. “We have about 15 going to the nationals in Columbus, Ohio, at the end of this month. They will be participating in music.”
Cameron noted that the church’s director of music ministries, Joshua Klatt, leads a concert series in the fall/winter season and into the spring called “The Second Sunday Suites,” which could be expanded with the new building.
The center will likely be more frequently used for sports such as basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer, he said. “We see those rotating through the season for youth sports and probably some adult sports as well.”
The center will be available for community use, Cameron added.
“We will be working on the policies that will go with that,” he said. “Something that we are comfortable with and meets our insurance and standards of the church.”
The church held a capital funds campaign and people made pledges and have given steadily for years to fund the project, Cameron noted.
Currently the church’s sanctuary, which seats about 375, is used for concerts.
The Cottage Co., of Lake Placid, is the general contractor on the project.
Mayor John Holbrook commented that the building is a major addition for the church.
“It’s amazing what they are doing there,” he said. “It’s really going to be a plus for the whole town. We are excited for them and excited for the town and, hopefully, it is going to be one of those things that will bring more people to Lake Placid.”