News Columns & Blogs

GracePoint Church buys former Cinemas West; has plans for an east-side church

WICHITA — The former Cinemas West space at Westlink Shopping Center at Central and Tyler is going to be the new home — and first permanent one — of GracePoint Church.

“To find a place that will fit 700 people plus, there’s not a lot of of options here,” says lead pastor Bryson Butts.

Initially, Butts says the church looked into building its own building.

“When the economy went south . . . we came to the realization then that that’s probably not going to happen,” Butts says.

Shelden Architecture will remodel the former theater at 9035 W. Central, which has been empty for several years.

Renovation costs will be about $1.5 million, which includes expanding the building for a total of 15,000 square feet.

The church’s auditorium will seat more than 500, and there will be an area that holds 160 children.

Butts started GracePoint with about 20 people five years ago. The church now averages weekly attendance of more than 700 people at two Sunday services.

Services have been held at a variety of places through the years, including Northwest High School most recently.

The new space should be ready by next spring.

At that point, Butts says the church will take the portable equipment it’s using now and start a second location on the east side.

Building a new building one day is still in future plans.

“Absolutely,” Butts says. But he says the church won’t sell the former theater space at that point. “Having this facility is a long-term strategy.”