Steel Going Up For New Life Center in Martins Ferry

Photo by Shelley Hanson The Rev. Rod Kasler, left, pastor of Martins Ferry Christian Church, stands in front of the under-construction Life Center on Zane Highway in Martins Ferry while talking with building committee member John Martin.

Passersby likely have noticed a new structure is rising into the sky on Zane Highway in Martins Ferry.

The steel being erected is for Martins Ferry Christian Church and School’s new multi-purpose Life Center.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in June 2018 with work beginning a few months later. During the past several weeks workers have been laying concrete blocks, giving people an idea of the building’s future layout.

In the past few days, steel structures also have been put in place, giving the under-construction facility a skeleton of sorts.

The new center will be two stories in height and have a junior high-sized gym for the school’s children’s and adult basketball leagues. The upper floor will have a youth area. It will be located on a lot adjacent to the school and church where two structures were torn down in 2016.

The center is expected to be used for dinners, social gathering and afterschool events. The school will also use the gym for its Upward Basketball League.

The Rev. Rod Kasler, pastor of the church, said they hope to have the center completed by fall so a new Upward Basketball season can start there. The center is going to host a variety of events and will also be open for the public to use.

“We want to reach out to the young people and families in town,” Kasler said. “We’re going to have supervised events in the gym like dances, concerts, volleyball. There’s all kinds of things we can do.”

Kasler said the church is working on a schedule of activities for when the building opens.

“We’re hoping to have it open two to four evenings each week to the community to come in play basketball or volleyball,” he said.

On the upper floor a hangout for youths is planned, complete with video games. Below that will be a coffee house for adults to hang out and and drink coffee.

“We built this with kids in mind. … It doesn’t matter what denomination you are or whether you are Christian. We want to meet our neighbors. We’ve been calling this our front porch,” Kasler said. “This is a chance for us to get together with the people of our town.”

Kasler added it is not the church’s objective to “steer away” parishioners from other churches.

In addition to church services and functions, the center will also be available as a banquet hall for weddings and other events.

“It’s for everybody. … We expect it to be pretty full most of the time,” he said.

Members of the Building Planning Committee were Brady Gasmire, Justin Hill, Joe Younkins, Brian Hastings, Jeff Theil, John Martin, Sam Napier, Adam Mitchell and Dick Lemal.

The Life Center is likely one of the largest new structures to be built in the city of Martins Ferry in recent memory. The Martins Ferry City School District built its complex about 10 years ago that includes two school buildings, a track and ballfields. It was built on land donated by the late Thomas E. Ayers.


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