Scientologists open new church in Ybor

10 News WTSP, Florida/March 21, 2011

Tampa, Florida - After spending $7 million to buy the buildings at Ybor Square and another $6 million on renovations, the Church of Scientology has finally opened its newest church in the old V.M. Ybor Cigar Factory.

Before opening, the Scientologists went to great lengths to incorporate the building's rich history with the church's décor.

Inside visitors will find a tobacco bale press, a foreman's desk, photographs, even a lector's stand that is more than 100 years old on display.

"Before we even purchased the building, we did research. How did the building originally look like? We went back and we went as close as possible to what it was back then," said Tampa Church President Elena Chiancianesi.

The new complex gives the Scientologists 88,000 square feet to work with.

The facilities include a chapel, a Purification Center for people who've used drugs, an area known as The Academy for Scientologists study to become spiritual counselors and a public information center with electronic kiosks that allow visitors to view more than 450 different informational videos.

The new church is open seven days a week.

The Scientologists plan on opening an even larger church near their world headquarters in Clearwater later this year.

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