Workers demolished the former Wendy’s building at the corner of Elm and Ninth streets on Saturday to make room for a new building for the Missouri United Methodist Church.
As the sun rose over Columbia, a trackhoe roared to life to cheers from onlookers.
The church purchased the building in 1998 and has used it for youth programs ever since.
“It served its purpose, but it’s time to go,” said Reece Roberts, a senior at Rock Bridge High School.
The new building will be 27,000 square feet and will house worship services and the church’s youth program.
“It’s the beginning of a new era for us,” said Sondra Flaker, a member of the church who watched the demolition. “You have to meet the changing times. A church has to reach out beyond its walls.”
The building was in need of many repairs, and church administrators decided it was more cost-effective to construct a new building. The building also could no longer meet the needs of the growing congregation.
“We won’t have to go fetch the buckets when it starts raining any more,” Roberts said.
The new building will feature a room for community groups to use as well as a multipurpose room that can be used for everything from large dinners to basketball.
The construction project, scheduled to be completed next winter, is expected to cost more than $4 million and is being handled by Professional Contractors and Engineers Inc.
There will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13 at the church.
A portion of this report first aired Saturday during the “ABC 17 News at 10.”