A church tied to the history of Randolph-Macon College is adding to its footprint on the college’s Ashland campus.
Work is underway on an addition and renovations to Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, located on the edge of campus at 201 Henry St.
Once housed in the chapel of the Methodist-founded college before its current home was built in 1954, the church is getting a new entrance to its Sunday School wing and renovations that will include an elevator to improve ADA compliance.
The work will add about 1,200 square feet to the church’s north side, while renovations to about 5,000 square feet of the church’s interior will provide new restrooms, offices, classrooms and a nursery.
The $1.6 million project will also include interior finishes to the sanctuary, a new audio-visual system and lighting improvements.
Kjellstrom & Lee Construction started the project in May. The Richmond-based firm plans to wrap up work in October, project manager Eric Kunkel said.
The addition is being designed by architecture firm Glave & Holmes. Project architect Fernando Viego said the work is the first to be done to the building since previous additions a few decades ago.
Viego said the addition will create a lobby space as part of the new entrance downstairs and also enlarge classroom space on the second floor.
Ray Martin, who is overseeing the project as chairman of the church’s architectural committee, said the addition and renovations are intended to better serve the congregation while also making the church more inviting to the community.
“Things have changed a lot since ‘54,” Martin said. “The facilities needed some new life, and there’s a little addition on the north side, which makes things a little bit nicer.
“The whole motivation behind all this is to try to be a little more outgoing in our relationship to the community,” Martin said.
Martin said the church organizes mission trips and programs aimed at helping people overcome poverty.
“It’s all to support these initiatives to be good stewards and help folks that need help,” he said.
Martin noted the church’s history dates back to the construction of the campus chapel, which the church built in the late 1800s as a memorial to the Rev. James Duncan, the college’s president from 1869 to 1877.
The chapel was converted for academic uses after the present-day church was built on Henry Street. The church owns the building, while the college owns the land and leases it to the church.
While the church has changed its location on campus, it has kept up its relationship with Randolph-Macon, said Anne Marie Lauranzon, a spokeswoman for the college.
“They’ve maintained a presence on campus, and we’ve maintained a relationship with the church,” she said.
She said the church’s recently retired senior pastor, David Hindman, is an alumnus, and its youth ministries director, the Rev. Kendra Swager, was recently named the chaplain of the on-campus chapel.
“So there’s a lot of connection with the United Methodist Church, as well as with Duncan Memorial,” Lauranzon said. “We’re very fortunate to have them on our campus, and it’s a very symbiotic, constructive, positive relationship.”
The project comes a year after other construction on campus. Last year, Randolph-Macon rebuilt a fraternity house for its Theta Chi chapter and completed a new $15 million, 50,000-square-foot residence hall.