CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — When the Claremore Plaza shopping mall was originally built in the 1970s, it was a welcome addition, replacing a former land fill with retail and restaurants.

Today, it is a bit more of an eye sore.

The home of Cedar Point Church is uneven and falling apart.

But renovations to make the building better than ever before begin September 1.

Cedar Point Lead Pastor Rick Burke said that over the next two years the church will be renovated in two phases, costing approximately $2 million.

"We call our church a story changing church," Burke told The Claremore Daily Progress. "We've seen this happen to a lot of people. They come in with a broken past, a lot of broken things going on in the world, and as they encounter the goodness of God their stories begin to change and their life takes on a different form."

The same is true for their facility, Burke said. They want the transformation of their church building to be symbolic.

"It will be a memorial to what God can do in our lives," he said.

The second purpose for the renovation is to give back to the community, he said.

"Part of our vision is to be relentlessly good to this community," Burke said. "We want to elevate that end of town, and we think that fixing it up will be good for the north end of Claremore."

"I really believe in putting something into the community where you live," he said.

The third reason, Burke said, is to prepare the building for those that have not yet been reached by God.

Phase 1 will include a 700-seat worship center, a 4,300-square-foot space for pre-K, an expanded kitchen, an updated main entryway, an expanded lobby with coffee bar and comfortable seating, a new youth worship area, and a new entryway near the kids area for easy check-in and check-out.

The hope is to have phase 1 complete by Easter 2020.

Phase 2 will involve relocating classrooms and office spaces to more efficient locations and further expanding the kitchen and KidsLife areas. They will also build flex spaces, finish the community services area, update parking, and install a half-basketball court next to the playground.

The building is old.

"It looks like it is one step away from being condemned," Burke said.

"Any time that anybody wins here, we all win," Burke said. "God is raising the bar for us and taking us to another step, but also we hope it blesses the community and helps raise that end of town."


Information from: Claremore Daily Progress,