CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials at Pilgrim Baptist Church, which burned to the ground five years ago, said Saturday that rebuilding could take several years.

Architects have been working for years on the first phase of reconstruction at Pilgrim Baptist.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

Chris Lee, whose firm is handling the project, said the completion will be handled in four phases.

“It has been a challenge. We know what place this building holds in the architectural historian’s mind and we just wanted to make sure that we were doing it the correct way,” Lee said.

The Bronzeville church burned to the ground on Jan. 6, of 2006 after workers performing repairs accidentally set off a fire.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Architects said crews have painstakingly removed artifacts and other documents, and have built a facade bracing system to keep the walls up and protect the public.

Officials have produced a number of renderings of what the church will look like when it is finished, along with what it will look like during various phases of reconstruction.

The church was built in 1890 as a synagogue and became Pilgrim Baptist in 1921.

The first phase is expected to be completed in September 2012. When it will re-open is still a unknown.

Watch & Listen LIVE