Future of the storm-damaged church is currently being assessed


East End United Methodist Church officials have enlisted three local companies to evaluate how to proceed with reconstruction efforts following the March 3 tornado that devastated the historic structure that housed the congregation. They are currently hoping to start rebuilding in 2021.

EEUMC’s Judi Hoffman says in a release that the building — located near Five Points at 1212 Holly St. and generally considered one of the city’s most noteworthy houses of worship due to its history, design and location — is not expected to precisely replicate the prior design. Specifically, issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, vehicular access, energy efficiencies and technology capabilities would almost certainly preclude such an effort.

The evaluation effort is expected to take roughly three months. No price tag to reinvent the property has been disclosed.

EEUMC is using project management firm CapEX Cumming, EOA Architects and EMC Structural Engineers. Each is locally based. The development team is determining what physical components of the historic existing church facility could be salvaged and which features need to be incorporated with new design and construction.

“God has provided us with a real opportunity during these interesting times, one that will allow us to accommodate our community better than ever before as we move to rebuild our place of worship,” Hoffman says in the release. “We will not be coming back at the status quo, but more accessible and much stronger, while maintaining the historic significance of this magnificent landmark.”

East End United Methodist Church was founded in 1889. In 1890, a wood-frame building was erected at 1100 Fatherland St. and was used until 1905. In that year, the parcel of land at 13th and Holly Street was purchased, and money was raised to build the walls, roof and tower. In 1907, the cornerstone was laid, and shortly thereafter the iconic stained-glass window facing Holly Street was installed. In 1921, an east wing addition for Sunday school was constructed behind the sanctuary building. The parsonage was built in 1923, and in the 1950s, the neighborhood wing was constructed in the rear part of the property.

Steve Rutland, CapEX Cumming vice president, says that given the church’s historical importance and sentimental value, “our teams will be making sure to take extra precautions” with the original stained-glass windows, bell tower and organ.

CapEX Cumming recently merged with Cumming, an international project and cost management consultancy, and provides construction project management and owner representation, estimating and scheduling.