Thanks to a new construction project, Sally Colegrove, pastor of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, will soon have a new office, and her congregation will soon have a bigger and better place to study the word of God.

Along with a building committee co-chaired by church members Robert Nunley and Peter Fletcher, Colegrove is overseeing a 50 percent expansion of the church’s fellowship hall, which is expected to be completed close to March 1 of next year.

The new space will offer a larger kitchen, handicapped accessible bathrooms, a new meeting and gathering room and church offices. The addition, totaling 24 feet by 56 feet, will form a “T” in the front of the existing Fellowship Hall. Downstairs, where existing offices are cramped together with Sunday School classrooms, there will be more room for an additional two classrooms.

“The congregation is very excited with the opportunities we’ll have with the new building,” Colegrove said.

The project is estimated to cost around $350,000. The church, through a variety of member pledges, cash, and in-kind gifts, has already raised $264,000.

The project, known as Faith Under Construction, will be phased, Nunley said. The first phase, which began Aug. 27, is the T-shaped addition to Fellowship Hall. L.C. Cooper Construction of Windham is performing the renovation. Further phases include updates to the old building such as a state fire code-conforming sprinkler system and installing handicapped ramps and bathrooms. Then the whole building will receive new siding and new windows all in an effort to improve energy conservation, Nunley said.

The church has a long history on Windham Hill. The church was the founding church of Windham. According to Colegrove, the town “couldn’t become a town” in the 1800s until a church was founded. The first incarnation of the church was known as the First Congregational Church of Windham, opening its doors in 1734. The church built the existing sanctuary on Windham Center Road in 1843. In addition to weekly services and a membership of 180, the church also plays host to Windham Boy Scout Troop 802, the local branch of Greater Portland Habitat for Humanity and two meals per month with Monday Meals.

“This renovation and expansion shouldn’t only benefit the church,” Colegrove said, “we hope it will be a benefit providing more services to both our congregation and to the community at large.”

From left, Windham Hill UCC members Peter Fletcher, Pastor Sally Colegrove, Robert Nunley Phil Moody and his wife Cora stand in front of the new addition that will soon provide 50 percent more office and gathering space for the centuries-old church.

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