Though construction of a mosque in Columbia County might not start until next year, many are hoping the project includes an additional center commemorating the lives of three young men killed in a 2005 car wreck.
Leaders of the Islamic Society of Augusta, in Martinez, intend to begin construction on the project on about 8.5 acres off Old Evans Road near Old Petersburg Road in 2010.
"The site plan already is developed, so we are, right now, moving with good speed," said Dr. Ahmad Gill, president of the Islamic Society.
In addition to a mosque and school, plans for the development include a community-type complex that has been dubbed the TIE Center. Each letter in "TIE" represents the first letter in the first names of Tariq Fischer, Imran Khan and Ebadullah Hasan.
Shortly after Hasan, of York, Pa., and Lakeside High graduates Fischer and Khan were killed in an Interstate 20 crash in July 2005, a group of youths from both the mosque and the Augusta area contributed design ideas for the Islamic Society of Augusta's new development, said Shireen Moore, Fischer's sister and creator of the TIE/7.13.05 Facebook group.
"We knew we wanted to have a place where we could pray...," the 26-year-old said. "We knew we also wanted a place where the youth, not only the Muslim youth, but the youth of Augusta in general could come and hang out and have a good time."
The center could include an indoor basketball court, ping-pong tables, and exercise, media and computer rooms, Gill said.
Members of the Islamic Society met in May to discuss design revisions for the development.
Gill said plans for the center are still in the preliminary stage and Archi-Group Design and Development Consultants from Houston, Texas, is the architect firm in charge of the job.
Though no plans have been finalized, Gill said the mosque and TIE Center are combined into one building at this point.
"We are leaving the options open, depending on the costs of the projects," said Gill, adding that the project might be constructed in different phases.
Another six months might pass before plans are finalized and final approval is granted by the county, he said.
As the community continues to grow, Gill said constructing the mosque and school remain top priorities.
For Moore, she hopes the center becomes a place where people can strengthen ties with one another.
"It's my personal goal that there is something available for the youth to go and spend time, because I think that's part of how you become stronger friends with the people that you grow up with," she said. "That's how you form bonds with your community."
She also said she is confident that Fischer, Khan and Hasan would have loved to hang out at a place like the TIE Center.
"They did a really amazing job of kind of bringing all different types of people together to do those things," she said. "I think the general thought was that the TIE Center would kind of provide a place where we could carry on their good example, so to speak."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.