LAURINBURG — A local church is putting $201,000 received in donations over the past two years towards the construction of a multipurpose Family Life Center, near Scotland High School, in an effort to provide area residents with a place for recreation — and help keep the community’s youth out of trouble.
The Rev. Michael Edds, senior pastor of East Laurinburg Pentecostal Holiness Church, said he is on a mission to improve the quality of life of the community and hopes the center will help to restore hope and vitality back to Scotland County and the city of Laurinburg.
“We want to try and reach the kids before the gangs do,” said Edds, who also serves as chaplain for the Laurinburg Police Department. “We want to get them before they get in trouble.”
The main features of the 12,000-square-foot building will be a regulation-size gym, a weight-training room for the use of youth, the church and the police department and classrooms that will host mentoring, tutoring and job-training sessions. The facility’s grounds will include soccer and baseball fields and a one mile-long hiking trail.
Construction of the building, which is also expected to house a nursery, men and women’s restrooms, a pantry, the pastor’s office, and a gathering space that will hold 500 people, is estimated to cost $750,000 and take nine months to complete. Preliminary designs are in place, but the building’s design first must be approved by church members.
Local businesses together recently gave a donation of $1,000, and the church hopes to raise $500,000 more to be able to move into the building debt-free.
For the past two years the church has partnered with the local government, businesses and other civic groups in several volunteer projects such as community cleanup campaigns. They have provided clothing, furniture and food to families, including serving 1,260 meals over a nine-week summer period for at-risk children.
Edds said the center will be built on an empty lot on S. Wilkinson Drive, a service road that runs parallel to U.S. 401 and Scotland High School — “centrally located for what we want to do.”
“It’s an incredible location,” he said.