First United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church Expanding and Renovating Downtown

Cary, NC – Downtown Cary’s First United Methodist Church has history stretching back to the 1870s and has undergone many changes since then. Now, the church is undergoing another change as one of its buildings is being renovated and a new Youth and Community Center is being constructed.

First United Methodist Church

Growing the Church

Construction on First United Methodist Church on S Academy Street is going on now as part of the first phase of the church’s renovation. The first step is to build a new two-story Youth and Community Center.

“It will have spaces that are larger for youth activities, including daycare, and it will give us more flexibility for events there,” said Maureen Sawchak, chair of First United Methodist’s Church Council. “We already host events for the Scouts and Read and Feed and we want to be more flexible and welcoming for the Cary community so we can hold events throughout the week.”

The new building will be around 25,000 square feet and includes space for sports and services, up and down youth rooms for a variety of uses and a full commercial kitchen. It also has larger windows that cover the exterior walls, which First United Methodist’s Building Committee Chair Curtis Westbrook said is a more modern architecture than the existing church buildings.

“We expect this will help us meet the growth of the church. We’re at 4,000 members currently,” Westbrook said.

First United Methodist Church

Renovating and Modernizing

In addition to building the Youth and Community Center, the first phase of the construction project will renovate the Templeton Building, which is around 20 years old. The Templeton Building houses youth and classroom activities currently and Westbrook said its renovation will come after the Youth and Community Center is built.

“We’ll finish the Youth and Community Center and then move the children’s center into the new building. Then we’ll do the renovations and move the children’s center back after,” Westbrook said. “The renovations should take about three and a half months.”

The renovations include changing the walls and floors, adding in more windows, bringing in some new furniture and Westbrook said there will be other changes to its layout.

“We’ll do things like take two rooms, remove the wall and make one room,” Westbrook said. “The church has some age on it and we want to dress it up.”

First United Methodist Church

Sawchak said that even with the Templeton Building being the newest building in the church, there are still opportunities to improve its flexibility.

“Part of that is also upgrading the technology that’s there,” Sawchak said. “We’re intending to make the space more flexible and welcoming.”

The construction of the Youth and Community Center as well as the Templeton Building renovations will last until June 2019. Afterwards, the next phase is to renovate the rest of the buildings in the church.

Additionally, Westbrook said the sidewalk along the church will be updated.

“The sidewalk from Academy to Walker will be bricked and have lantern lighting,” Westbrook said. “It will conform to the downtown design.”

First United Methodist Church is located at 117 S Academy St.

First United Methodist Church

Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Michael Papich and First United Methodist Church.

3 replies
  1. George McDowell
    George McDowell says:

    I’m thinking how nice it would be for all concerned if the Town were to remove the existing one-generation specimen trees in front of the church, expand the pits, and plant long-lived, crowned, noble hardwood trees. The church’s heating and cooling costs would be reduced in only a few years and its campus would take on an elegant and dignified air. Everyone else would benefit from the cooling derived from the tree’s shade, much more stormwater runoff could be prevented, more carbon could be sequestered from the atmosphere, and more car and truck exhaust would be absorbed and converted to pure oxygen. Most importantly, by planting trees similar to the existing ones, the canopy of crowns that covers some of S. Academy St. – and which is the main element of the beauty and charm of the street – would be continued by this generation and passed on to generations of the future.

  2. Brent
    Brent says:

    I hope the church maintains the historic integrity of the historically important main building.

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