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Feb 4, 2013 9:13 AM by AP/CS

Houma church rebuilding after fire

HOUMA, La. (AP) - Construction is expected to start soon on a new building at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church and School.

The Courier reports the church's century-old sanctuary at Belanger and Barrow streets in downtown Houma was destroyed in a fire in 2011.

Since then, parishioners have worshiped at Grace Lutheran Church while raising money and working out plans for a new building at the old location.

Church leaders say a contract has been signed with Byron E. Talbot Contractors of Schriever and construction equipment is being assembled at the site.

"We are so excited to begin this new chapter in the life of St. Matthew's," said pastor Craig Dalferes. "A great deal of hard work, lots of prayers and generous support from our diocese, congregation and community brought us to this important milestone."

The $5.6 million project, designed by Broadmoor Design Group and Blitch Knevel Architects, includes a 4,400-square-foot sanctuary and parish hall and a 6,000-square-foot school building.

The new church is designed to replicate the Neo-Gothic style of the old church, though the floor plan will be modified to meet new building codes and accommodate a larger congregation.

The new school building is designed to house up to 189 students. It will include a science lab and four classrooms.

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