NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nearly one year after Niagara Catholic middle and high schools closed, the empty structure has found a new owner.
The Buffalo Diocese has signed a sale contract with The Chapel.
The mega-church is looking to purchase two buildings, the main school which is approximately 60,000 square feet and the former middle school which is approximately 25,000 square feet. The Chapel says they are exploring some community partnerships to utilize all the space.
The Chapel has four locations now: Niagara Falls, Lockport, Cheektowaga and Getzville.
Although these are the physical locations bearing The Chapel’s name…the church has been quietly expanding the religious community in Western New York for nearly two decades.
“We are friends with (many other churches), we encourage their efforts, and maybe in some cases even resource those things,” said Jonathan Drake, the Niagara Falls campus pastor.
In the past 15 years it has helped to start nearly 30 churches all within 15 miles of its Getzville main campus.
“To whom much is given, much is required. God has entrusted us with great resources and a great platform, but if we exhaust that on ourselves, then we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
But Drake says The Chapel is not in the business to recruit congregants from other worship centers.
“We don’t ever seek to recruit people away, we’re not in the church recruitment business, we want to build the kingdom.”
Plans for the renovation of the school space are underway, and expected to be completed by the end of summer when the two groups close the deal.
Many in the community are excited to see such an iconic building have new life once again.
“No one is excited to hear about something like this closing down,” said Drake. “So for this to remain in what we doll all the ‘faith portfolio’, we’re really excited about that.”