An East Grand Rapids church is beginning work on a $2.5 million renovation and reconstruction project.

Parishioners at St. Stephen Catholic Church, at 750 Gladstone Dr. SE in East Grand Rapids, celebrated their last Mass at the existing church on Sunday, June 10.

The $2.5 million renovation and reconstruction of the church also includes changes to the school entrance. Add in $500,000 in school enhancements completed last fall and $500,000 in future planning, then the total cost of the project comes to $3.5 million.

This is the first major renovation to the church since the late 1960s. St. Stephen Parish opened in 1924 and is home to over 500 families.

Construction is expected to last into the winter and the plan is for parishioners to be back in the renovated church in time for Christmas. During construction, Mass will be celebrated in the school gym.

Rockford Construction is the contractor for the project and the architect is David B. Meleca Architects.