As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, for 20 years The Centrum served as a cornerstone for the Spring and Klein community, hosting both church services and performing arts events for local organizations, such as the Cypress Creek Foundation for the Arts and Community Enrichment, prior to Hurricane Harvey. The 21,000-square-foot venue has since been closed to the public during ongoing renovations and negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Whenever an individual or community experiences a trauma, it is important to find tangible steps towards healing," Senior Minister Bruce Frogge said. "And where there remains a constant reminder of the event—work yet undone—it is challenging to move onto other important work. The Centrum is a rather large daily reminder of what happened and what remains undone."
After filing for a FEMA grant to cover restoration efforts in January 2018, the Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center received the final $1.09 million needed to ramp up the reopening process May 2, church officials said.
"The Centrum has been a community gathering place, not only for wonderful concerts and entertaining programs, but a place where community conversations and interfaith dialogue have occurred" Frogge said. "It has drawn grieving people in times of community loss while also providing space for rituals of celebration and union. [Reopening The Centrum] will allow for some needed closure that can become the fertile soil from which newness can emerge."
Improvements underway at The Centrum include a renovated and refurnished lobby, a redesigned dressing room, the addition of a green room, an upgraded catering kitchen, and the relocation and renovation of the baptistery, among others. The newly renovated space will also feature a floodgate system, sealing walls and watertight doors to make the venue more resilient in the event of another flood.
In addition to funding from FEMA, the center has an additional $1 million designated for the project, which will cost an estimated $2.7 million total. To raise the remaining $500,000 needed to reopen the venue, church officials will host a Christmas in June community fundraiser June 25 from 4-6 p.m.
"The Church and Community Center have really been the energy—and the money—these last three years in trying to find a way forward," Frogge said. "We intentionally did not want to involved the community until we had everything finished with FEMA and felt as if the project could be realized. The last thing we wanted to do was create excitement in the community and then have to change the story."
The free, socially distant event will include a Christmas car parade and subsequent car decorating contest, followed by a Christmas Mini Festival featuring live Christmas music, photo opportunities, snow, a special appearance by Santa Claus and a virtual tour of The Centrum, among other activities. Masks will be provided, and those who wish to participate in the event can contact Norma Lowrey, Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center's executive director, by emailing email@example.com.
"This event is to say, 'We are ready.' And we hope those in the community will join us in the work of restoration," Frogge said. "This is truly a community space that has been missed and will be enjoyed by so many once it is restored."
To raise the remaining $500,000 needed to reopen The Centrum by Christmas, sponsorship opportunities remain available for various parts of the facility, ranging from the portable theater chairs at $175 each to lobby naming rights at $250,000. For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to make a donation, click here.