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Years of dreaming and planning have led to the current
remodeling project of First Universalist
Unitarian Church in Wausau, Wisconsin. The congregation's new space will be
ready for occupancy in the fall of 2007. The design maintains the architectural
character of the church's historic building, provides wheelchair accessibility
to all new and old spaces, offers new energy efficiencies, and will make it
possible to hold larger events for the Wausau-area community.
Wausau in 1870. The first building was sold to
St. Stephen Lutheran Church. A second building was erected on the opposite
corner in 1886. That property was sold to the Mount
Sinai Jewish congregation. The church's present building,
constructed in 1915, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its three
wings were designed by architect Alexander Eschweiler to represent and connect
to three different aspects of our lives - domestic, social, and spiritual. But
to make the physical connection between dozens of odd levels, one had to climb
many many stairs. While children loved the twisting corridors and odd crannies
which made for wonderful hide-and-seek games, the space wasn't configured for
the needs of a growing congregation.
In the 1950s, the east wing was converted from a parsonage into classroom
and office space. That wing, recently demolished, will be rebuilt and expanded.
The architect for
the current expansion project is Design Unlimited; Don Nikolai Construction is
the general contractor. The design serves as a sculptural history of the
congregation, showing how the Christian roots of Unitarian Universalism have
grown over the centuries. Contemporary Unitarian Universalism embraces wisdom
from a broad world of religions, from
science and the humanities, and from the rhythmic cycles of the natural
world. The hub of the new space, a
glass-enclosed atrium, will help the congregation connect to the world outside. The atrium will also showcase the old
building's exterior stonework, provide new gathering space, and serve as a
bright airy connection between the sanctuary and the new classrooms and offices.
Hundreds of donors have indicated their commitment to provide
a continuing home in Wausau for the practice of religious freedom.
As of January 2007, over $1.25 million had been raised toward what will
ultimately be a $2 million project.The church's new space will support
congregational growth and an expansion of programs for both children and
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.
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