Revamped church could be open as early as July
Work on refurbishing St Columbkille’s Church has moved into its next stage.
And the revamped Main Street building could be open again by the summer, with a July date being targeted.
The proposed changes will see a host of improvements made to the building, and including installing a new underfloor heating system, a new limestone floor in the nave, installing disabled toilets, renovating the church benches, changing the alignment of the marble sanctuary steps and a host of other ideas that will bring the church into line with health and safety standards.
These steps will form the second phase of the church’s revamp, which parishioners have spent the past few years planning and fundraising towards.
Last June the church was closed and services moved towards the Parish Hall instead.
The total cost of the refurbishment is expected to be over £700,000.
Last year the Reformer told how delays had hit the project, caused by “architectural problems” being found in the building that required more work than originally expected.
Father Pat Hennessy is glad that work is now underway, and believes that the changes will help take the church forward.
He said: “We’re very relieved that everything is on track now. The biggest changes will be to the heating, the seating and the disabled toilets too, and it should make things much more comfortable.
“People have been really generous (with donations and fundraisers for the work), which is really amazing.
“We’re happy that we can see the light now.
“It’s been needed and will make the place much more comfortable – I think it will make a big difference, although we won’t change anything inside, because people love it the way it is.”
However Father Hennessy admitted that there have been benefits to the switch to the Parish Hall.
He added: “There’s been an aspect of the parish hall move that’s been very good too.
“It’s meant people are very close sitting together and are talking even more – they’ve been very patient and now everyone is ready to get back to the church.
“There has been work going on in the church over the past several months, but now we have a date for when we’ll be able to move back in, which will be July 1.”
St Columbkille’s was built in 1940, replacing an original church founded in 1851.
It is a modern adaptation of an Italian basilica in red brick with stone margins.
Last year the renovation plans were given a boost when they were awarded a £ 15,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant.
It’s been needed and will make the place much more comfortable,”
main building should re-open in July