Gateway Church expansion approved

Fast-growing Gateway Church, on Hancock County 9 near Liberty-Benton High School, will nearly double its space with a $4.9 million addition by spring 2015.

The church, affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, got City Planning Commission approval Thursday for a 30,892-square-foot addition. It will have a sanctuary space with 1,000 theater-style seats. The addition also will accommodate a new nursery and remodeled infant area, expanded cafe and additional multi-purpose rooms.

Gateway’s existing worship space has 640 chairs for three Sunday morning services, said Scott Long, administrative pastor at Gateway. It had 540 chairs a year ago, he said. Average Sunday morning attendance has doubled since 2005 to 1,156, not counting children, he said.

The existing building is 31,286 square feet. Gateway leaders are studying alternative uses for the existing worship area. It could be used for weddings and banquets or be divided for other uses, Long said.

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