SOUTH SIOUX CITY | The Islamic Center of Siouxland has started a $300,000 expansion that the mosque says will create needed space for a growing number of members.
The project will add a total of 3,000-square feet -- 1,500 square feet each to the prayer hall on the first floor and to the basement by expanding the current building to the north, with a new entry way for the new addition on the west side.
The current building, constructed in 2002, sits on 2.5 acres of land on Willow Street, north of the city and Dakota County Law Enforcement Building. Nearly 60 persons can pray at a time in the prayer hall. The additional first-floor space will help accommodate an "ever-increasing number of worshippers for Friday noon congregational prayers," while the enlarged basement "will provide improved facilities for education of our children and also for many other cultural and social activities," the center said in a news release Thursday.
In 2002, there were 25 to 30 Muslim families living in Siouxland, according to the news release. Since then, a large number of new immigrant Muslim families from the East African countries of Somalia and Ethiopia have arrived and settled in South Sioux City. Most found good-paying jobs at the Tyson Foods beef in adjacent Dakota City and at Wells Enterprises' ice cream facilities in Le Mars, the release said.
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"The need for a larger prayer hall and a larger basement has been felt for the last 4-5 years and we hope that the new addition will meet the religious and cultural needs of our community for now and for the foreseeable future," the Islamic Center said in the release.
Construction for the new project, which began Monday, is expected to be completed next spring.
The estimated cost is more than $300,000. So far, $200,000 has been collected. The Center hope to raise the remaining funds from other donors "who have pledged to fund this project in the near future as the construction progresses."
"We would like to solicit and gratefully accept donations from individuals, corporations and other non-profit entities in the Siouxland area to participate and help us complete this first phase of this project,'' the Islamic Center said in the release.
A second phase would include expansion of the existing parking lot for an additional 30 to 50 cars.