Greenfield - The unlikely task of turning the former Walmart at 4500 S. 108th St. into a church is well under way.
The Ridge Community Church bought the more than 100,000-square-foot building after Walmart moved around the corner, opening a larger store at 10600 W. Layton Ave. The church intends to use about 60,000 square feet of the building and lease the remaining 50,000 square feet to commercial/retail businesses.
Phase one, under way now, is to create a worship auditorium to seat 625 people, classrooms for childhood, teen and adult ministries, administrative offices and a café. That will take up about 38,000 square feet. The church is reserving another 22,000 square feet for future church expansion.
Getting the business section ready for leasing will be the second phase.
"It's really coming along," said the Rev. Mark Weigt, Ridge pastor. "We're ahead of schedule."
The biggest challenge is getting the acoustics right in the sanctuary in the center of the building. That's important because the church has a full band and presents videos, Weigt said.
There is a design advantage in renovating a big-box store. The site's accessibility should help the church fulfill its mission of connecting people with God, he explained.
To take away any barriers, the church won't have a steeple but will have a modernistic sign that church officials hope will be welcoming.
The church goal is to show people that the church is practical and meaningful in their everyday lives, Weigt said.
The Ridge Community Church, founded about six years ago, currently holds weekly services at Whitnall High School, 5000 S. 116th St. Weigt said he expects weekly services to begin in the new building in early spring.
- Jane Ford-Stewart
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Greenfield Common Council hears concerns at Chapman proposal hearing
- Meijer super store wins final Greenfield Common Council approvals
- West Allis police report: April 23, 2015 issue
- Greenfield police report: April 23, 2015 issue
- Help-plan for Kulwicki Park going back to county with ICC endorsement
- Greenfield panel gives Good Will a cold shoulder (1)
- Animal blood bank in Greenfield needs more dog and cat donors to keep all pets healthy
- Greenfield vet clinic calls for blood donations from dogs
- Whitnall ponders: What's next? Moving on in the face of failed referendum
- Gadgets don't stay broken at this shop