- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) - A northeastern Nebraska mosque has started a $300,000 expansion that officials say will create needed space for a growing number of members.

The project will add 3,000 square feet of space to the Islamic Center of Siouxland in South Sioux City by expanding the prayer hall and the basement, the Sioux City Journal reported .

The current prayer hall can accommodate about 60 people, according to the center. The expansion will provide more space for worshippers. The basement enlargement will provide education space for children as well as a space for cultural and social activities.

There were 25 to 30 Muslim families living in Siouxland in 2002, the center said. That number has since grown with the arrival of more Muslim families from Somalia and Ethiopia.

“The need for a larger prayer hall and a larger basement has been felt for the last 4 to 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 a news release.

Work began on the project on Monday. It’s expected to be completed next spring.

The center has raised $200,000 of the funds for the project so far.

“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.

A second phase of improvements would expand the parking lot to accommodate an additional 30 to 50 vehicles.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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