Delhi teen center Building Twentyone rising from ashes

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DELHI TOWNSHIP — When Building Twentyone burned down in October 2018, the owners had no question it would be back. This week, the Delhi Township Planning Commission approved Journey Life Church’s final site plan to rebuild the teen center in the place it once stood. 

 Lead Pastor Jared Stepp said he knew the church would find a way to continue the building’s mission in a video update posted on the church’s Facebook page after the fire,

“We’re going to figure something out because our vision hasn’t changed …” Stepp said in the update. “We lost a building. We lost a lot of stuff. But the passion is still there. The vision is still there. The people are still there.” 

The rebuild has been in the works since the fire , said Building Twentyone Executive Director Ben Schartow. Before the fire, about 30-40 students attended the center’s after school programs every day. Those numbers have dropped with the fire and  the pandemic, but Schartow said he hopes the new building will help the center regain its attendance. 

“We’re putting a lot more new stuff in (the new building),” Schartow said. “We’ll have a maker space in there, we’re going to have a tech center, a small cafe area. We’re putting a ninja warrior course in there.” 

The ninja warrior course is the highlight of the new building, which is coming, in large part, due to a $75,000 Impact grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation, a nonprofit. 

In addition to bringing back  Building Twentyone at 1288 W. Cedar St., Journey Life Church was  approved for a final site plan to add on to the main church facilities.

 Approval was the next big step for the church, said civil  engineer Andy Brooks.  Now the church can get the building permits and move forward.. 

Stepp said  the expansion will be a big help for the children’s ministry at the church. 

The 2,726 -square-foot addition will give the church the spaceto better accommodate the 110-115 students who  attend the two services on the weekends.

“The extension to our main building is for our kids. Kids’ classrooms, specifically, and bathrooms,” Stepp said. “We don’t have enough space for our kids on our weekend services.”

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