Prairie Lakes church finds permanent home in New Hampton

Former Saint Mary's Catholic Church is new location

The New Hampton campus of the Prairie Lakes Church has found a new, more permanent home.

“We’re excited to have a permanent location, we’ve been setting up and tearing down every week for two years now,” said Prairie Lakes New Hampton Campus minister Cody Orr. “We’re ready to put our roots down and settle into New Hampton.”

Prairie Lakes recently purchased the former Saint Mary's Catholic Church, at 251 South Linn Avenue, for $125,000 and will renovate approximately 13,000 square feet of the facility. 

“We’re excited, and I think the community is excited to see it turned back into a church,” said Orr.

Approximate cost for the project is $875,000. This includes the building purchase, renovation and furnishings.

“Renovations have begun,” said Orr. “Our church attendees came in last weekend and we did a little bit of demolition work. We’ll see a lot more movement after the first of the year as far as renovations and things like that. Our tentative plan — we’re hoping to be done around July.”

Orr said that while the church is aiming to start holding services in July, the church office — which has been located in downtown New Hampton — will be set up much sooner.

“Our offices will be moved over here right away, by the first of the new year, the beginning of January,” Orr said. “That’s kind of the initial project we’re looking at and focused on right now.”

The church was built in 1949. Saint Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in New Hampton had been home to a Catholic parish since the early 1890s. However, in the early 2000s, it became one of two centersin the Holy Family Parish that also includes New Hampton’s Saint Joseph Catholic Church.

The Holy Family Pastoral Council voted in early 2013 to close its Saint Mary Center. Pews were sold to Saint Luke Catholic Church in Ankeny after that.

Since that time, the church building has been home to Janey Lynn’s Designs, where proprietor Janey Lynn Shekleton designed and sold kitchen, home, bath, body and spa items. Janey Lynn’s has now moved up the street to 234 South Linn Avenue. The church building held offices and was mainly used as a warehouse.

The church building property needed to be rezoned, from a commercial back to a church zone, and that was taken care of this past fall. The sale was officially closed at the end of November.

Prairie Lakes Church, which also has campuses in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Grinnell and Osage, has been holding services at the Chickasaw Event Center for about the last three years. That will continue until renovations are complete. The church will be celebrating its third year in New Hampton in April. Orr estimates the congregation to be about 120 adults and children.

“The new facility will be a game-changer that will help us impact and reach the next generation more effectively,” Orr said in a recent letter to the congregation.

The renovated church will include a worship center seating for 260 people, a kitchen and cafe, a connection area, multi-purpose space for children and events, and offices with a conference room.


For more of this article, see Friday's New Hampton Tribune.

New Hampton Tribune

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New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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