Covenant Presbyterian Church plans to start construction soon on a major addition that will add a new building to Morehead Street and, the church hopes, help bridge the economic gap in Charlotte.
The expansion is part of Covenant Presbyterian's $10 million capital campaign, which also includes subsidizing a new housing development for low-income families nearby. The plans also call for building a new, all-day child daycare on the church's Dilworth campus, which senior pastor Bob Henderson said will have a goal of enrolling 25 percent subsidized students.
"We wanted to contribute to the well-being of the city," he said. "We saw these two as a pretty strong intersection of those concerns."
Construction on the new daycare building will start in the fall and run through 2019, Henderson said. The new building will also include space for gatherings and serve as the church's new "front door," with direct pedestrian access from Morehead Street. Covenant Presbyterian's current preschool program is half-day, follows the school system's calendar, and doesn't offer year-round, full-time care.
Including subsidized spots with permanent funding for children of lower-income parents is a crucial part of the plan, Henderson said.
"It's extraordinarily expensive to have high-quality childcare, and that also contributes to people's ability to work," he said.
The new building was actually in the church's original plans, dating to the 1940s. But it wasn't built at the time in order to cut costs, Henderson said.
"It's less an addition than a completion," Henderson said. "The stone will match. The style will be similar."
The other big part of the capital campaign is a $2 million contribution to a 185-unit apartment development by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership.
The $30 million development is planned at the southwest corner of Freedom Drive and Camp Green Street. About 30 percent of the units will rent at market rate, while the remainder will be reserved for people making less than the area’s median income.
The goal is to build apartments for people making up to 80 percent of the area's median income, or just under $56,000. Some of the apartments will be reserved for people making significantly less than that, all the way down to 30 percent or less of the area's median income — roughly minimum wage.
Alison Summerville, co-chair of the capital campaign, said the plan is a key piece of the church's mission.
"We sort of have two different Charlottes," she said. "There's a whole other side of town that we don't often get exposed to. We need to help the other Charlotteans that don't have the same good fortune we do."