The long-vacant old Walmart building in Cortez Plaza is slated to become the new home of the Rock Springs Church.
Plaza owner Tom Maley and church leaders were given preliminary approval for the project during Cortez Planning and Zoning Department’s meeting on Aug. 7.
Maley and Senior Pastor David Ramsey plan to renovate the former Walmart to provide services and programs for the nondenominational community church.
Rock Springs is located in a facility east of Cortez on U.S. Highway 160 and has outgrown the space, Ramsey said.
“Our attendance continues to grow, and we need the room,” he said. “This new location will add value to an unused area on Cortez’s east side and bring in positive activity.”
The building is 66,000 square feet, and the church plans to use 46,000 square feet and lease the rest. Renovation designs show the main auditorium for services has a capacity for 800 seats, but it will start out with 250. Rock Springs’ current building seats 220 people.
A smaller auditorium will be built for youth programs, and the church also plans meeting rooms and a child care area.
Parking is adequate for the Sunday crowds, and the planning department required that the spaces be striped, which was recently completed. A sign for the church will go through a separate permit process, city planners said. The location is zoned as “commercial-highway.”
The Rock Springs Church has been in the area for 25 years and has three Sunday services, at 8 a.m., 10 p.m. and noon.
“We like the visibility and the convenience of the new location, and it allows us room to expand,” Ramsey said. “We have a lot of positive programs and activities happening all week.”
He said the church has a welcoming attitude and is a place for families and individuals to support one another, and offer assistance to those in need in the community. There are also youth programs, life groups, recovery programs and a children’s ministry.
According to its website, Rock Springs Church offers “contemporary worship, music and a practical, relevant message.”
A fundraising campaign is planned for the renovation. The project will go before the Cortez City Council at the Aug. 28 meeting.