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Wheeling Housing Authority Rebuilding Offices on Former Sacred Heart Church Site

Photo by Joselyn King Wheeling Housing Authority Executive Director Joyce Wolen announces plans to build offices and a community center on the site of the former Sacred Heart Church, which was destroyed by fire in 2018.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Housing Authority wants to bring its offices and a community center back to its North Wheeling property.

The authority announced Friday it will rebuild on the site of the former Sacred Heart Church property at 99 Main St. — which was destroyed by fire more than three years ago on July 7, 2018.

The structure had housed the Augusta Levy Learning Center, as well as the Housing Authority office for North Wheeling. The building’s former sanctuary had served as an often used community center for the neighborhood.

After the fire the property sat vacant, and the Augusta Levy Learning Center moved to another location off National Road in Woodsdale. The authority has tended to its North Wheeling properties from its main office in Elm Grove, and the North Wheeling neighborhood has gone without a community center.

The authority’s plans call for the construction of a 4,700 square-foot facility that will include offices for a North Wheeling site manager and a maintenance shop, as well as a new community center for the public, explained to Joyce E. Wolen, executive director of the Wheeling Housing Authority.

Cost for the building is estimated at $1.6 million, and will be paid for through insurance money received for the structure destroyed by fire, she said.

Work on the project has already begun.

“This building will be extremely important to the neighborhood,” Wolen said. “It will provide us a presence in the neighborhood and a community center for residents to use.

“It will be a critical part of the infrastructure of North Wheeling.”

Dennis Madama of the Shaeffer and Madama architectural firm in Wheeling said the firm has been working on the project for the past four months. He expects it to be done by the end of this year, or early in 2022.

After the fire, the Faith Community Church held services outside and at Riverview Towers, also owned by Wheeling Housing Authority. The church has spent the past two years renovating a building in North Wheeling to hold their congregation.

The front doors from the former Sacred Heart Church, two of the steps, and two corner pieces of stone now reside in the fellowship hall of the new church building.

The Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston also collaborated with Wheeling Housing Authority to secure the cornerstone and the cross that graced the steeple. A memorial dedicated to Sacred Heart Church now resides on the property of St. Joseph Cathedral.


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