Cary Church

Updates on First United Methodist Church’s Expansion and Renovation

Cary, NC – First United Methodist Church is one of Downtown Cary’s oldest landmarks and for the past year, the historic church has been undergoing new construction and renovations, with plans for those first major phases to finish this Summer.

First United Methodist Church

Rendering of the church’s completed renovation and construction

Update on Construction

The most recognizable change to First United Methodist Church is the construction of a new Youth and Community Center, which is on the corner of Waldo Street and North Walker Street. This will be a 25,000 square foot building with a variety of uses including education, recreation and a kitchen.

Christine Hildebrand, First United Methodist’s executive director, said they expect construction to finish around the end of May 2019.

“We’ll be moving in the first part of June,” Hildebrand said. “It’s coming along well.”

The Youth and Community Center has a modern look compared to the rest of the church, which is most apparent by the glass walls, which Hildebrand said will bring in light and encourage group work.

Once the Youth and Community Center’s construction is complete, Hildebrand said they will start on renovations for the Templeton Building.

“We anticipate that will start at the end of May and conclude in early August,” Hildebrand said. “The first piece is the classrooms, as walls will be taken down to they will be larger and have more uses.”

The sidewalk around First United Methodist Church is also wider and has the same brick look that Academy Street has, as well as new street lights installed.

Cary Church

Modernizing the Church

Once the Templeton Building’s renovations are complete, Hildebrand said there will be renovations across the entire church building. Like the Templeton Building, this will include removing the walls from between offices in order to make them multi-purpose rooms.

“We want larger spaces where people can work together,” she said.

This all follows an architectural philosophy Hildebrand said is centered around opening up the space in the church, both for collaboration inside of the building and collaboration with the community overall.

“We want this to be a space where our partners in the community can come in and work without having to pay,” she said.

Once the Templeton Building is renovated and the Youth and Community Center is complete, Hildebrand said there will be some sort of community open house to invite people in to see how the church has changed.

First United Methodist Church is located at 117 S Academy St.

Cary Church


Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Michael Papich and First United Methodist Church.

5 replies
  1. Brent
    Brent says:

    Although First Methodist Church is a very important historic property in Cary, it is not an official “landmark” property designated by Town Council.

    Cary has 12 official local historic landmarks.

    First Methodist is to be applauded for their historic preservation, but “landmark” is a specific, official designation.

    Reply
    • Mark Neill
      Mark Neill says:

      I don’t think they’re using Landmark in that way, referring to a historic designation.

      It is, in fact, a recognizable landmark, lowercase “L”, in downtown, just like the Fidelity Bank building or Ashworth’s at the effective center of downtown, the elementary school, or the car wash at North Dixon that leads back to Lexie Lane Park and the Convenience center.

      Reply
      • Brent
        Brent says:

        You don’t think that “oldest landmark” offers the context of a historic landmark ?!?

        My point is that we ought not to be cavalier with the term “landmark”, which has a specific official meaning .

        Of your examples, only the Cary Arts Center is a historic landmark .

        And I dare say that the Fidelity Bank and car wash are just about the opposite of landmarks .

        Reply
        • Mark Neill
          Mark Neill says:

          But no one else here is saying “historic landmark”, which has a specific meaning. The word “landmark”, referring to “an object or feature of a landscape or town that is easily seen and recognized from a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location”, is not specific.

          If I told you how to get to The Perfect Piece, by telling you…

          “From Dry Ave, turn left in front of the Arts Center, drive past the library and First Baptist, turn right at First UMC, and then it’s on the far side of the intersection with the little weird round house”

          I just used 5 landmarks and just one street name, only one of which (maybe 2, I’m not sure of the historic landmark status of said little round house is) is an actually designated Historic Landmark, to refer to 4 separate streets.

          All of those things, and all of the things I previously mentioned, are landmarks. Almost none of them are Historic Landmarks, but that’s OK, because no one else said they were.

          Reply
          • Brent
            Brent says:

            You used one landmark in your example (not 5, not 4, not 2).

            I’m sorry you can’t understand the connotation of this legally designated term.

            Your uncertainty about what is and is not a landmark strengthens my point.

            Misusing the term weakens its significance .

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