COMPTON, CA (July 14, 2010) – Renovation of the new site in Compton for the Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET), is progressing, and President Ed Delgado hopes the school can begin moving into the facility later this month or in early August.
Fall quarter classes are scheduled to start September 13. A dedication for the building and ministry is slated for November 6.
Since its founding in 1989, the Covenant’s Hispanic training center has rented space from Primera Iglesia del Pacto in Bell Gardens. Increasing enrollment and the church’s needs for the current space necessitated the move.
Total cost for purchasing and renovating the building is roughly $290,000, of which about $141,000 has been raised, Delgado says.
He is grateful for the large number of volunteers and assistance from other Covenant churches who have been helping with the renovation thus keeping down costs. A 50-member Young Life team contributed four hours and made a significant improvement, he adds. Volunteers already are putting in numerous hours packing boxes at the current site.
Marv Gibbs, a member of the Rolling Hills Covenant Church has coordinated their work. The primary contractor, SBG inc.—the SBG stands for Saved By Grace—is owned by Rolling Hills member Pete Alonso and has helped with reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina as well as with Covenant work in Ecuador.
The building would have been far from impressive to most people at first glance. Had it not been his extensive work on the mission field working with more difficult situations, Delgado says, “I would have gone into that building and rejected it. I would have seen it as incredibly, incredibly ugly. But I didn’t see it that way; I saw the future.”
Delgado recounts that the contractors recognized the possibilities even as they were driving up to the building. “They said, ‘Oh yeah, we can do this.’ ”
The building has been completely gutted, and workers had to peel through six layers of roofing, Delgado says. “It’s going to be a brand-new building that maintains its character.”
The building initially was a synagogue, notes Delgado. The conference later purchased it, and several Covenant churches have met there, as have congregations from other denominations, which rented the property.
A Covenant church plant led by John Teter used the building most recently but found it didn’t meet their needs. He suggested to then-Pacific Southwest Conference Superintendent Evelyn Johnson that it be used for some kind of community center.
But following the conversation, she connected the center with Centro and became excited about the possibilities for the school.
It was fitting, then, that on April 14, she started the reconstruction by swinging a sledgehammer to knock down the first chunks of an inside wall.