CENTRALIA, IL (KFVS) - A Centralia, Illinois church will get a new elevator on Tuesday, November 15.
The entire thing will be picked up and installed at the First Presbyterian Church at around 11:30 a.m.
The public is invited to attend. It will take place at 102 S. Hickory in Centralia.
According to a press release, Rev. Stan Martin and Elder Roy Aarons had a problem at the church: 14 concrete steps.
The steps led into the sanctuary and made it difficult, in some cases impossible, for older members and visitors to take part in services and events.
Church members knew a permanent solution was needed to solve the stair issue. However, possible fixes were limited as the church is a historic building.
The congregation was founded before the Civil War in 1856 and the current building was built sometime in the 1920s.
Another issue was the many narrow stairways throughout the inside of the church. They couldn't accommodate stair lifts, and the church leaders felt that the stigma that comes with stair lifts would cause people to avoid them.
Church leaders said they did have an external chair lift, but parts became increasingly difficult to find, repairs became more frequent and the church felt it was necessary to post a person to help with the operation.
They said these factors were getting in the way of consistently using the lift.
A ramp to the front door was also considered but ruled out as a viable option.
To comply with code requirements, Elder Aarons estimated that the ramp would have to "circle the building" to follow all the rules. Not only would that be an inconvenience, but it would also detract from the overall look of the building.
The solution? A new modular elevator.
It will be set exterior to the church and the completed hoistway will be covered in brick to match the rest of the church so as not to detract from the look of the historic building.
Once the elevator pit is poured and openings for the steps are made, the elevator will be craned into place and be fully functioning in less than a week. It will then be ready for inspection.