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Local Churches Get New Lease on Life

Two buildings in Cambria City have been acquired by The Steeples Project to be transformed into something new.

The former St. Columba Roman Catholic Church closed in 2009 due to parish consolidation, but now it’s under construction to have a new life as a theater.

“The idea here is that we are going to design and install a theater, completely within the historic envelope of the original St. Columba Church,” said Dave Hurst, Project Manager for The Steeples Project.

As the area tries to transform into a cultural district, organizers hope it will be a place for theater companies in the region to use for rehearsals and performances.

Although it will take several years to be completed entirely, organizers want to put it to use as soon as the pandemic allows.

“We want to offer it as what we’re calling a “theater in the rough” to area theater companies to use free of charge. They can come here and rehearse. They can maybe build their sets,” he said.

The rectory right beside it will also be revitalized, which has been standing since 1890.

“This building was the rectory for St. Columba church, which is next door, so it has a lot of quarters in it for priests or other members of the clergy to live and to work,” said Laura Huchel, Board Member for The Steeples Project.

It’s being turned into an Airbnb to keep it alive.

“It’s a project that we’re undertaking to really save this building, give it a new purpose, give it some new life, and breathe some love into it,” she said.

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