First Baptist Church to undergo renovations

New basement, elevator part of $650,000 project

Darrell Cole
Published on July 16, 2014

Rev. Byron Corkum looks over plans for the $600,000 renovation of Amherst First Baptist that will include a new basement and the installation of an elevator. The church will be launching a capital campaign in August. The project will be complete by fall.

Darrell Cole -

Amherst First Baptist is undergoing a $650,000 renovation that will include a new basement and the installation of an elevator.

AMHERST – Amherst’s historic First Baptist Church is set to undergo a significant change.

The church is just about ready to launch a capital campaign in the community to raise the $650,000 necessary to complete a series of much-needed renovations including remodeling the basement of the building and installing an elevator.

“It’s the first renovations we’ve done in the basement in 60 years, while the elevator is something we need to make the building completely accessible,” Rev. Byron Corkum said Wednesday while looking over plans. “We really needed a new kitchen facility in the basement and an elevator is a necessity for when we move things to the basement and it’s also important in terms of accessibility.”

Corkum expects the renovations will begin later this month and be complete by the end of October. The elevator will be finished by the end of the year.

The renovation will include a new kitchen in the basement as well as a complete redesign. Corkum said walls will be knocked down so that the main room is bigger. He said the basement will be rewired and will have a new sound system, there will be new ceilings and new walls.

At present, the basement is used for youth group, for meetings and other events. The church is also a comfort centre for the Town of Amherst and Municipality of Cumberland and Corkum said the renovations will include a new bathroom that’s barrier-free and will also include a shower.

The new basement will also give the church more flexibility when hosting events like suppers and will also provide additional meeting space for community groups. It will also allow the church to host funeral receptions in the basement instead of in the vestry, which can become crowded during large funerals.

“This is something we really needed to do,” Corkum said. “Our church is over a century old, but we need to do this to keep up with the times and to provide a barrier-free facility to our members and to the community.”

Corkum said some money has already been collected and the church will also be hosting numerous fundraisers throughout the year. Funds from the Wednesday noon barbecues are also supporting the project.

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