Suffolk church moving this fall

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

At long last, a large downtown Suffolk church will move to a new location this fall.

Construction on a new building for East End Baptist Church is expected to finish this September. The 32,000-square-foot church on Portsmouth Boulevard will be furnished and hold services starting this October.

Construction on the 17-and-a-half-acre site began in 2015 to provide more space for the 900 members of the church, with 350 at Sunday services regularly. The new building has long been anticipated; the land was purchased in 2006.

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“We felt that the current location wasn’t going to give us exactly what we needed,” East End Baptist Church project manager and trustee chairman Bobby Scott said.

Their current location on East Washington Street in Suffolk accommodates about 450 members. The new location will have seating for 565 members in its sanctuary and accommodate up to 700 including the choir and others. There will also be fellowship halls, administration wings and 10 classrooms.

Scott said the church was designed as a multiuse facility for the community, with more modern aesthetics than the previous location. The next phase of development will increase the available seating to 1,200.

“It will provide an opportunity to host banquets and other events,” he said.

The church also has a musical school that has struggled with lack of space for years.

“Where we are right now, they have to schedule their classes, because we’re limited in space,” Scott said. “When we move to the new location, we’ll have more space to accommodate more students.”

He said this location was chosen based on extensive geographic and demographic studies to reach the Suffolk community.

“The congregation is excited, and it’s still on the east side of the Suffolk,” he said. “It’s going to be like the gateway to the community of Suffolk. We’re still going to be tied to the community.”