Orbie Estep, senior pastor at Grace Missionary Baptist Church, in the sanctuary of the new 25,000 square foot church. The church, located on the site of the old Kenwood Elementary, is having an open house Saturday for anyone who wants to stop in and see the new church. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Former Springfield elementary school site now home of church

The site where a Springfield elementary school once stood has been transformed into a church.

The former Kenwood Elementary School once stood at 1301 Beacon St., but it is now the home of Grace Missionary Baptist Church.

Senior Pastor Rev. Orbie Estep said the church has had plans to relocate for years. He said the new location has more space and is more accessible.

“Many of the older buildings have stairs everywhere,” Estep said. “We needed a church that was accessible to all people.”

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Since 1989, Grace Missionary Baptist Church had been located just a few miles down the road at 427 Hubert Ave. in a 900-square-foot building.

The new 25,000-square-foot facility on Beacon Street includes a gym, nursery, kitchen, classroom space, and a game room, Estep said.

The church purchased the property for $30,000 in 2013 from Wellington Square LLC, a real estate arm of Springfield’s Turner Foundation. It broke ground in March 2018 on the new property, which took roughly $2.5 million to build.

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Estep said the church was intended as a point of outreach for the neighborhood and the Springfield area.

“We are community-minded and we built this for the community as well — not just for a place of worship on Sundays,” Estep said.

The church will have an open house from noon to 3 p.m. this Saturday for those interested in walking through the new building.

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