CHAMPAIGN — Several local churches are embarking this summer on expansion and renovation projects of $400,000 or more.
— Apostolic Christian Church has begun a $925,000 renovation of its building at 1401 Devonshire Drive, C.
— Friendship Lutheran Church of Joy has plans for an expansion, estimated at $750,000, of its building at 3601 S. Duncan Road, C.
— First Christian Church, at 3601 S. Staley Road, C, has begun outfitting part of its Family Life Center for junior high ministry at an estimated cost of $409,000.
The three projects come on the heels of a $3 million building permit issued in Urbana this spring for expansion of the Vineyard Church at 1500 N. Lincoln Ave. That project was the subject of a March 7 story  in The News-Gazette.
Apostolic Christian Church's project includes renovation of the kitchen, dining and lobby areas and replacement of pews in the sanctuary, said Derek DeGroot, project architect for the Aspen Group.
The renovation, which began about three weeks ago, is expected to be complete in about four months, DeGroot said.
Brent Young, chair of the church's building committee, said members hope the work will be finished in September.
While work is going on, members are holding services at the Messiah Free Lutheran Church, 1401 W. John St., at 11:15 a.m. Sundays.
DeGroot said Apostolic Christian's 10,000-square-foot building dates from the mid-1980s, and the congregation wanted to modernize the building while maintaining traditional values.
Renovating the kitchen and dining areas was particularly important to the congregation because worshippers eat together between services, he said.
To accommodate the renovation, a small addition is being made to the east.
DeGroot said Apostolic's sanctuary seats about 200, but can be expanded to accommodate 250. The renovation includes new lighting and a "more modern" color scheme, he said.
Young said the project includes new carpeting in the sanctuary as well as new ceilings in the fellowship, Sunday school and kitchen and dining areas.
The Aspen Group is also handling plans for a two-story addition to Friendship Lutheran Church of Joy, DeGroot said.
That building is located near the intersection of Curtis and Duncan roads, and an aim of the expansion is to make the church more visible from both Interstate 57 and Curtis Road, he said.
The project, which DeGroot estimated at $750,000, would expand the capacity of the sanctuary from 160 to 280.
The firm is getting ready to file for a building permit, DeGroot said. The project is expected to get under way in the next couple weeks and last about four months, he added.
Besides allowing for renovation of the sanctuary, the addition will create new classrooms on the lower level, DeGroot said. The church is expected to have about 10,000 square feet once the expansion is complete.
First Christian Church plans to finish off a portion of its Family Life Center that was left unfinished when the building was erected about six years ago, the Rev. J.P. Jones said.
The new space, on the building's southwest side, will be dedicated to junior high ministries, he said. The area, called The Zone, will include recreational facilities, with an open space for dodgeball, soccer and basketball, as well as small-group rooms with TVs and audiovisual equipment.
The project will provide space for 13 groups or classes to meet, he said. Work started recently and is expected to be complete by the beginning of August and in use early this fall, Jones said.
Weger & Associates, Champaign, is architect for the project.