Southern Baptists in Davis County will soon have more room to worship.

Members of First Southern Baptist Church, 240 W. 1500 South, plan to build a new $400,000 church on the current building lot, said William Cameron, chairman of deacons.Construction could begin as early as this summer, Cameron said, and the structure may open in the fall. The timetable for building will prove difficult to project, however, because much of the interior design work will be done by volunteers.

The new church, which at 9,500 square feet will provide four times the space of the current church, will allow all of the church's functions to be housed in one building. Currently, Sunday school and the church's offices are in a separate building.

Church officials hope the additional space will attract Southern Baptists living in the area who have not attended the church because of the inadequate facilities, Cameron said. Also, it will allow the growing church to expand even further with new members.

The timing of the church's construction coincides with the annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention, scheduled June 9-11 in Salt Lake City. With an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 participants, church leaders hope the excitement generated by the convention will help generate additional funding for their new building.

"It's quite an exciting year for us," Cameron said.

The church hoped to also purchase some adjacent property but couldn't reach an agreement with Five Points Mall, which is the land owner. Larry Wickham, general manager for Five Points, said that a number of businesses have approached him about the property, but that Five Points has turned down all offers so far because principals are considering development of the plot them-selves.

The new church will reflect the continuous growth First Southern Baptist has experienced during the past five years, said Pastor Michael Pless.

"We've outgrown our facilities, and we can't continue to grow without some new facilities," the Rev. Pless said.

While the new building won't be extravagant, it will provide services comparable to what Southern Baptist worship houses offer in other parts of the country. The Rev. Pless said his church has lost members because of inadequate facilities. Many of those who wish to worship with the church have recently moved to Utah.

"They have certain expectations we can't meet, so they drop out," he said.

The improved facilities will likely help prevent that. "It will be a great place to come and worship Christ," he said.