C.S. Lewis Institute Renovation at Trinity United Methodist ChurchYoungstown, Ohio
Built in 1883 with financing by a number of prominent valley residents including the Powers Family, the Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Youngstown has long stood as a landmark. In 1942, a substantial addition housing an additional chapel, support, community, and office spaces was built but a number of these added spaces fell into disuse over recent times due to a declining population.
In the summer of 2013, the Northeast Ohio C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program was in need of a physical location for their program and decided to put these underutilized spaces back into regular use by bringing these spaces in line with current code requirements and making sure that they were capable of supporting the technology of a 21st century program.
The alley entrance on the east side was rehabilitated to become the Fellows’ main entrance. A much-needed glass canopy was added above the entrance to make minimal impact on the historic character of the building’s exterior and adjacent windows. Inside, three community rooms surrounding the ground floor courtyard were renovated to meet the students’ educational needs.
The offices on the fourth floor saw the most dramatic changes. Over the history of the building, a number of renovations were made to the space, leaving a hodgepodge of existing plaster and cheap wood paneling. Additionally the existing configuration presented a number of tight passageways making it impossible to leave most rooms in tact while accommodating new office needs. The stair landing to the penthouse was demolished and reversed to expand the small existing restroom while allowing for a wider hallway to the penthouse level. The two existing rooms in the penthouse were combined into one larger library and study space.
The renovations funded by the Northeast Ohio C.S. Lewis Institute have already brought new life to an underutilized portion of this historic Youngstown landmark leading more people downtown. And this investment has also secured the future of the Trinity United Methodist Church.