A 70-year-old church and its faithful congregation are about to put down roots.
NorthGate Christian Church, a branch of International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, recently broke ground on a $1.75 million worship center at Washburn Road and Donna Street.
The congregation started with open-air preachings on a rented vacant lot in the 300 block of South Ninth Street and went through several reincarnations and worship centers. Former gathering places include churches, a movie theater and lately a high school gym and separate offices.
Currently, services are hosted at Canyon Springs High School, 350 E. Alexander Road, and church offices are at 2553 E. Washburn Road.
NorthGate Christian Church officials sat on a purchased $1.9 million, 5-acre parcel of land for almost a decade before deciding to build. The economic decline depreciated the land's value, and it was difficult to sell, said pastor Rev. Greg Niemeyer.
LM Construction is to helm the building of a 15,000-square-foot location equipped to seat 400 and provide office space, classrooms and a food bank.
Construction is likely to cost about $1.75 million and include several phases. The congregation is hoping for a completion date later this year.
The congregation gathered April 29 on the future church site to turn the first shovels of dirt and share a blessing, Niemeyer said.
"I didn't want it to be just me giving the blessing," he said. "I feel like it's the whole congregation blessing."
Niemeyer's predecessor purchased the land during the real estate boom and decided to move operations to the growing North Las Vegas area, Niemeyer said.
"They weren't ready to build right away," he said. "Then they tried to sell, and prices dropped."
The church has been based on the east side, and many congregation members uprooted to follow the move. Services were hosted at the Cannery Casino, 2121 E. Craig Road, for years before moving to the high school to save rent.
Longtime congregation member and ministry head Rev. Sheri Stine said the congregation is atwitter about the church, the ownership and the security it may provide.
"People are just excited to be in a place where we aren't tearing down or setting up every week," she said. "We are going to have something permanent in the community."
A dedicated group of members build a stage and fine-tune sound equipment an hour before weekly services, Stine said, then transport it away in a cargo trailer each week.
"They get kudos from me," she said.
A committee of church members assisted construction designers to cater the new building's amenities to the congregation's needs. Roughly 250 people comprise the NorthGate Christian Church congregation.
"For us, it's not about a building," Niemeyer said. "I firmly believe a church is not a building; it's people. We believe God gave us this tool of a building to further impact our community."
For more information, visit northgatechristian.com or call 384-6960.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at email@example.com or 477-3839.