A new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church under construction at 10376 Ridgeline Drive will alleviate overcrowding at several other chapels in Kennewick.
The general contractor, Scott Hedrick Construction of Boise, broke ground a few weeks ago and workers began pouring footings for the foundation.
Rich Meyer, president of the Kennewick stake, expects the new building to be completed early next year, possibly in mid-February.
A stake is a grouping of wards (congregations), and typically numbers eight to 12 wards.
Wards can number anywhere from 300 to 500 people.
The Kennewick stake covers half of Kennewick and most of West Richland.
"The church is gaining new members and the community is growing," Meyer said. "Needing a new building is a really good problem to have."
The spacious new church -- 19,075 square feet -- will be located on 4.8 acres and include a large chapel, a gym with a stage for cultural events, and classrooms for Sunday school and youth programs.
When completed, the new church will be home to two wards with room for a third.
"Not all wards meet for services at the same time, we stagger them with one meeting at about 9 a.m., another at 11 a.m., and others in the early afternoon," Meyer said.
The new building is a significant investment for the church, he said.
"The land cost about $5 million, and the general building contract is $4.5 million. What's great about this project is when it's completed it will be paid for. The church will not go into debt," he said.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org