NEWPORT – Trucks picked up the remaining debris from the former Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 36 Hillside Ave., at the corner of Admiral Kalbfus Road, on Tuesday to make way for a new hall.
Doug Eadie, chairman of the Newport Kingdom Hall Building Committee, said construction of the new Kingdom Hall could begin in the next few weeks.
“Most of the work will be done by volunteer labor,” he said. “People are coming from all over southern New England to help us.”
The former hall was built in 1968, but members decided to tear it down to reposition it at the edge of the lot and create more parking. Eadie said the number of parking places would be increased from 22 to 47. He also said the old building did not meet current fire codes and was not wheelchair accessible.
“The crew in charge of putting up the building said they could do it more cheaply and quickly with new construction, instead of rehabilitation,” Eadie said.
New construction also will allow the installation of an efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, he said.
Eadie said the 75 members would spend about $375,000 on the project, because of all the volunteer work. One member, Jeffrey A. Hatcher of Portsmouth, is the architect for the building.
The new Kingdom Hall will be only slightly larger than the former hall, increasing from 40-by-80 feet to 45-by-80 feet. The interior of the one-story building, designed much like an auditorium, will have 103 seats, an increase of just a few seats, Eadie said.
He said the hall is used mainly for Bible instruction.
Headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jehovah’s Witnesses are directed by a Governing Body. Each local congregation is overseen by a group of elders, who are appointed by representatives of the Governing Body. Information about the religion can be found at www.watchtower.org, the official Web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses