Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church is renovating a house in the Robinson Historic District for the community to use as a meeting place, particularly college students.
“It’s going to be open during the daytime for [students] to use as a study house — a coffee house if you will,” said the reverend Andrew Hybl.
Different college groups will also hold weekly meetings at the house in the evenings.
The house will not only be used by college students, but multiple parishes within the church for monthly meetings and dinners.
Hybl said he plans on taking applications and requests from all members of the community who want to use the house.
“The goal really is to open it up for as many people who can use it as possible,” he said.
In 2010, St. Peter’s purchased the historic home at 1926 Prince St. The house is located across the street from the church.
“We’re kind of landlocked where we are in this space, so when that house came up for sale it seemed logical for us to purchase it,” Hybl said.
St. Peter’s held a capital campaign in 2012 to raise money for renovations. A large donation from Charles Morgan was also given to fund the project.
“We’ll be renaming the house The Morgan House in memory of Charles Morgan’s parents who were long time members of St. Peter’s,” Hybl said.
Rick Readnour, president and CEO of Readnour Construction, Inc., is the contractor for the project. Readnour has been a member of St. Peter’s for 41 years.
He is working on the house at no labor or insurance costs to the church. St. Peter’s is only responsible for funding the cost of materials.
“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Readnour said. “I’ve been in business nearly 30 years working around Conway doing general contracting, and it’s time for me to help some people out.”
Hybl said the construction crews arrive at 6 a.m. and don’t leave until its dark each day.
After the house had been rezoned from residential to conditional use for religious purposes, construction started in March.
Readnour took out the walls and ceilings bringing the structure down to studs.
The home was built in 1900, and it was important, Hybl said, to retain the historic value of the original structure.
While the house needed a new foundation and new structural beams, the church preserved as many historical aspects as possible.
All trim from the windows and doors was taken out and refurbished. It will be replaced around new replica doors and windows.
“We weren’t able to keep the outside windows because of the fact that they were just so damaged and the insulation value, so we went with something as close as we could to match them back to try to keep the look,” Readnour said.
But the church was able to preserve the original hardwood floors.
“All the original hardwood floors were taken out piece by piece and they’ll be replaced, repurposed and put back in,” Hybl said.
Changes include a second bathroom added to the back of the house, and some of the walls are being opened to create communal spaces that were originally two, separate rooms.
“We tried to make it larger and more open, but other than that we tried to retain the historical structure of the place,” Hyble said.
The renovations are expected to be complete in October, and St. Peter’s is hosting a grand opening to the public Oct. 6 at 3:30 p.m.
The grand opening will be held in conduction with their annual Blessing of the Animals service, a celebration of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, where pet owners bring their animals to be blessed by an Episcopal minister.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215.)