HUB seeks to modernize

By Lane Song

Renovations for the HUB, 912 W. Springfield Avenue, the meeting place for the Excel Campus Ministry, continue to take shape.

The renovations, which began more than a year ago, include new drywalls, a repainting and carpeting for the lower floor. Funded by the Urbana Assembly and the alumni, the renovations will give the HUB a contemporary look, Pastor Terry Austria said.

Built in 1921 by the Free Methodist Church, the HUB was previously owned by the First Mennonite Church before the Urbana Assembly acquired it in 1991. Renovations started in 2004 when the building was renamed the HUB.

Austria said the renovations should attract students who would prefer praying in a more casual environment. The HUB is centered toward students, and Austria hopes it will help open dialogues between them.

“Students who wouldn’t like going to a more traditional church may find the HUB to be a lot more comfortable,” he said. “Here, students can build authentic relationships and help find Christ in themselves.”

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The renovations have added modern amenities to the HUB, including game tables and wireless Internet access. Austria hopes to open a coffee shop in the recreation room where students can chat and study.

“Originally, we wanted to build an Internet cafe,” he said.

Austria, who graduated from the University in 1991, became involved in the Urbana Assembly during his time as an undergraduate. He was one of the two pastors who founded the HUB, previously called the Crossroads Campus Church.

Currently, the HUB holds large group services on Monday nights, as well as other smaller sessions throughout the week. The building is open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

One major goal of the renovation is to offer a 24-hour prayer room. The boiler room has been converted for this purpose, and Christian groups will have the opportunity to pray anytime without schedules or prior reservations, Austria said.

“It’s a place where I can go and pray anytime, and it’s comfortable for the students” said Jon Davis, sophomore in LAS.

Others are glad there will be a place for Christian organizations to pray at all hours of the day.

“I’m happy about it,” said Jong Lee, a member of the International House of Prayer and a visiting resident assistant professor in FAA. “It’s really hard to find a place to pray on campus, and this will be very convenient for us.”

The 24 hour prayer room is expected to open this fall, and the renovations will continue over the next one or two years.