Grand Forks Baptist Church looking to take over wildlife hall

The Grand Forks Baptist Church is looking to move from its Market Avenue location to the wildlife hall on Second Street.

The Grand Forks Baptist Church (not to be confused with the First Baptist Church) will be moving into the wildlife hall at 7850, Second Street.

The move won’t happen right away as the church still has some time left on its current lease at 752 Market Avenue.

According to the City of Grand Forks, upgrades to the wildlife hall would need to be completed in order to meet the B.C. Building Code to use the facility as a group occupancy facility.

Despite the $30,000 of expected upgrades, Pastor Brett Swope is optimistic about the church’s future home.

“It’s a larger space for our church as well as the fact that it’s a space with a huge potential in regards to the community,” he said. “Our vision for the space is to have our church and ministries there but also to do some things with that space that will be able to benefit our community, such as the revitalization of the Observation Mountain trail and being able to have community functions.”

The city and the church are currently working on a lease agreement.

“Right now we are just meeting with them to start to put the lease together so we don’t know what the terms are going to be,” said Wayne Kopan, the city’s Manager of Environmental and Building Construction Services.

Swope said the Baptist church would like to see a 25-year agreement for a monthly rent of $750.

“If we are going to put that kind of money into (renovating) it, we need to have a bit of a longer term commitment from the city,” he said.

Some of the renovations that are needed include, structural support braces in the basement, drywall to replace panelling and a new heating system.

Swope said in a perfect world, the Grand Forks Baptist Church would like to move into the old wildlife hall in a few months, but he added that the move might not happen until at least the end of summer.

“That depends on if we can raise the finances to do the work,” said Swope.