A facelift for Denton’s First United Methodist Church is nearly complete.
After doing an audit of the property earlier this year, trustees began a renovation project that will result in sturdier, safer and better-looking church facilities.
“Because it’s an old and aging facility, we needed to look at all areas. Some of the facade in the front was getting very weak, and the concern was it could come down,” said Nancy Murphy-Chadwick, chairwoman of the board of trustees.
The church has been in its current location since 1857, and the current sanctuary was built in 1923, according to Murphy-Chadwick. Work on the church began in January. Officials budgeted about $500,000 for the work and are coming in on target.
“You’re always a little afraid when you start taking things down, particularly in a building this old — you might find an unknown. We have been fortunate with our architect and contractor — we have covered everything.”
The project architect is Hahnfeld, Hoffer and Standford, a Fort Worth firm that works on a lot of churches, and the contractor is Tim Beaty Builders, Murphy-Chadwick said.
Some of the work done included taking off the porch roof and all the terracotta facade at the top of the building and the columns, new surfacing on the entrance and new tuck pointing on the front and side of the church as well as improving the stairs, said Gary Grider, co-chairman of the board of trustees.
“They were worn to the point where as you got down the stairs, you found yourself picking up speed a little bit,” he said. “It’s been real popular so far with the congregation — the upgrade is running on schedule.”
Grider said the next step will be renovating the old education wing.
“Technology back then wasn’t as state of the art as it is now. We have to do some foundation work, Sheetrock, lighting. … It’s just going to be absolutely beautiful when they get through with it, and everyone is really excited about it.”
Murphy-Chadwick said that for the renovations, officials wanted something attractive but at the least possible cost. They are waiting for a cross and flame sculpture to adorn the roof.
“This is a growing church, so we’re concerned about having a good, attractive facility, and it’s kind of an icon downtown,” she said. “We were aware of that — we wanted to make sure we continued to be and not detract from the really good work that is going on downtown to beautify the area.”
She added that the project is close to completion and may be finished within one or two weeks.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .