Extensive renovations at local Kingdom Hall
A COUPLE hundred volunteers are putting in two weeks’ hard work to give the local Kingdom Hall its first overhaul in more than 30 years.
Volunteers from here and around the north are renovating the meeting place of the Jehovah’s Witnesses on Eby St. on the south side of town.
The hall, built in 1978, has undergone minor repairs over the years but this is the first time it is being gutted and redone inside and out, said northern B.C. region construction chairman Dale Friesen last week.
In what he calls a fairly big project, the hall is getting a new heating system, plumbing, electrical, roof and outside. The entrance will be redone to provide more space in the lobby and to be more accessible for the disabled, he said.
Volunteers are a mixture of tradesmen, people learning the trade and others and, besides local congregation members, come from Prince George, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Quesnel.
“It’s more about the people than the work,” Friesen said.
There’s no shortage of volunteers as people enjoy seeing their friends in other parts of the province as they really get to know each other working together on similar projects.
“‘When’s the next one (renovation)’ people ask,” he said.
A committee of five people decides which buildings will be renovated and organizes the volunteers, which includes a core group of about 300 volunteers who work on renovations around the province.
The committee ensures the volunteers take a safety course for working on a construction site.
The idea is to combine forces and delegate the work that needs to be done, helping construction to be completed quickly and efficiently, and to provide more manpower than just local church members.
There’s also volunteers working in the kitchen from as early as 5:30 a.m. to about 7 p.m., making food for the volunteers.
“We’re well looked after. They’re a really good team,” Friesen said about the kitchen staff.
The project probably costs close to $500,000, but with free volunteer labour, it’s about half the cost.
A no-interest loan came from the main Jehovah’s Witnesses organization.
Local Witnesses, about 125, were asked by a secret ballot if they supported and wanted to do renovations.
“They basically agreed to even more than what was needed,” said Friesen. The loan is paid back by local members on a voluntary basis. The project is expected to be finished on time this Friday.