Renovations to one of the oldest buildings in Lutz continues — with completion of the $3 million project expected later this year.
Renovation work at First Baptist of Lutz, 18116 U.S. 41 North, is slightly behind schedule, said Paul Vahue, the church’s administrative pastor.
But one of the building’s most important elements was removed on June 2 and has been set aside for later use.
Workers gently and diligently took down the steeple cross that was installed at the church in the late 1950s.
The cross will be incorporated into the sign that will be installed on the new building, Vahue said.
The last overhaul of the church was in 1959, when the church was rebuilt.
The groundbreaking for this renovation was held in April 2022.
The First Baptist Church of Lutz was originally built in 1944 and then rebuilt after a fire.
The current renovations and upgrades include enclosing the entire front of the church and creating an entirely new look.
An atrium will be added, which will serve as the centerpiece and it will connect the sanctuary to the fellowship hall.
The atrium will be a large open space for welcoming guests, checking in children to the children’s wing, and hosting events.
There also will be new, larger, handicap-accessible restrooms at the front of the fellowship hall, on both the first and second floors.
Services remain in the main sanctuary, which is not being affected during the renovation.
The project will give the church a new, updated look.
In a previous interview with The Laker/Lutz News, Vahue said it’s a refresh that is needed.
“Many parents didn’t want to bring their kids to this aging building where it just looks like a blast from the past,” he said. “People like stuff that is new and we want to get modern here. The church isn’t going anywhere — it’s just going to get modern and new.”
Published June 21, 2023