After six years of planning, the vision of a social hall is becoming reality for the Juniata Valley Gospel Church.
When completed, the 48- by 80-foot building will have two classrooms, one for younger children and one for teens, a library that also will serve as a meeting room, and a kitchen. The hall will connect to the church by way of a 16- by 16-foot building that will house handicapped-accessible restrooms.
The Rev. David McCaulley, pastor of Juniata Valley Gospel Church for 56 years, said the ground was broken for the social hall on his 90th birthday, making the occasion even more festive.
(Courtesy photo) Juniata Valley Gospel Church is building its first social hall, and the project is to be completed by spring.
Church trustee Michael Gampe said he was in on the ground floor of the project, which was first discussed in 2004.
"Pretty much from the start to finish, I was involved in it. We wanted to build a hall for a long while. At a business meeting we decided to get things going. I volunteered to be the chairperson, and took it and ran with it."
He also did ground work, and got the septic system squared away.
On the fundraising side, Gampe is a member of Juniata Valley singing group Crissman, Crissman & Gampe, which held concerts with proceeds benefiting the project.
Other fundraisers included hoagie sales, breakfasts and apple dumpling sales. Individuals also donated funds.
Church trustee Ricky Waite said the cost of the building was $320,000, and the congregation raised about $220,000 through fundraisers and $100,000 was borrowed from a bank.
Once the main construction is complete, church members will install the kitchen and paint.
"Some of us are electricians, woodworkers and know about plumbing," Waite said.
The work is be completed by spring.
"We'll have fundraising dinners to build the kitchen," Waite said.
Waite said the social hall will make church functions more convenient and provide space for youth activities.
McCaulley said activities previously had to be held in the church basement or a rented fire hall.
He said he is looking forward to being a part of events that will take place in the new building.
"I'm going to stick around," he said