Now that we’ve “shifted into second gear” in our campaign to build a new center for ministry, a great deal of information has been shared over the last few weeks. We are grateful for the feedback that we have received as well as the outpouring of excitement and encouragement. Part of the feedback has been in the form of great questions – and there have been quite a few! So, we decided to feature answers to your questions in our lead story for this month’s newsletter.
Q. What is in Phase I? What is missing from Phase I?
The proposed Phase I will primarily contain the sanctuary, a large gathering/entry area, bookstore, coffee bar, kitchen, various education rooms, and a library. Once the budget and funding are finalized, we may or may not have the ability to finish out staff offices and additional education space (see floor plans on page 6 and 7). It’s important to remember that the floor plans have not been finalized for Phase I, so this information is based on the floor plans as of April 12th, 2018. In addition, our conceptual budget has not been finalized yet. This could impact the components of the floor plan.
Q. Is that a second story in the elevations? If so, what will it be used for?
Yes, the proposed Phase I is a two-story building. The second story will include the sanctuary balcony, various education rooms, and a library. You will also notice that there is no basement in the new design. The main reason for eliminating the basement is to help with cost savings right now, keeping in mind that basements also bring other issues that can add to costs down the road.
Q. Are there any interior elevations or renderings available, such as inside the sanctuary or gathering area?
No, the interior renderings are not complete yet. We will continue to work to have those available as the project progresses.
Q. Will there be a covered drop-off in Phase I?
There isn’t a covered drop-off in the basic Phase I design. While a covered drop-off is a nice feature, it was determined best to forego it primarily due to the added cost and complexity to incorporate it within the Phase I design. Fortunately, the space between where you get out of your car and enter covered areas will only be 7-10 feet. This will be similar to what you have at the airport, where the drop-off is exposed, but covering is very close.
With that said, if we’re financially able to build the additional nursery building in Phase I, there are plans to include a covered drop-off area on the backside of this building.
Q. If we can’t afford to do Phase I with all of the options, including a dedicated nursery, will we at least be able to secure our children in nursery rooms?
In the most minimal version of Phase I, our nursery rooms would be spread throughout the building. We would have to create a process to secure their pick-up and drop-off at each room. If we have the funds to finish out the elementary school classrooms (see floor plans on page 6 and 7), our situation would be similar to what we have at CCS, where all of the nursery rooms are in one hallway and have single entries and exits. The rooms would still not be optimally equipped for nursery use, since restrooms would be located in the hallway instead of inside each individual nursery room.
Q. Will there be a playground area in Phase I? If so, where will it be located?
Yes, right now, the plan is to have a playground area behind the building – almost directly behind the worship center. This location could change as we finalize the landscape design.
Q. Will there be a kitchen?
Yes, there will be a kitchen that will be able to handle small events. It won’t be large enough to handle larger events or have the ability to feed the entire church family like some churches do on Wednesday nights. A larger kitchen would be added to the fellowship hall when we build that in Phase II.
Q. How many people will the sanctuary seat in Phase I? And, will we plan for 1 or 2 services initially?
The sanctuary will seat 640 people in Phase I. That will allow us to move into the building with just one service. We currently average just under 500 people each Sunday. You normally would consider two services after you reach 80-90% capacity. Once we hit 570-580, we would begin to consider two services.
Q. How is the current square footage of the gym we are using at CCS comparable to the square footage of the sanctuary in Phase I?
The current square footage of the gymnasium at CCS is very similar to the proposed size of the sanctuary in Phase I. We typically have about 600 chairs set up in the gym and the sanctuary will hold 640 people.
Looking at the long-term plans, you can see that we have tried to look as far down the road as we can, taking into account as many contingencies as possible. This type of plan creates a lot of great questions
Q. What is the reasoning behind three sanctuaries in the master plan? How many proposed seats are in each of the three?
We wanted to think through future sanctuaries because of our experience with our past sanctuary. In our previous building, the church began to grow substantially. As we grew, the elders decided to expand the building, but we found that there wasn’t a workable master plan for the property. In trying to add future phases, we ran into a lot of difficulty because those phases were not thought through from the beginning. So we didn’t want to put the church – even a future congregation – into a similar bind. We wanted to make sure that if the church grows and decides to expand, the entire campus was thought through in a careful way. The three sanctuaries on the master plan reflect that goal. The second sanctuary would seat about 1,400 people, and the third one – if it’s ever needed – would seat around 2,400 people.
Q. Would we ever need a 2,000+ seat sanctuary? Why not plant a new sister church when we get to a certain size?
Different churches have different philosophies about what size is best for their ministry. There’s no right or wrong answer to that. Our elders have discussed this many times. We believe that there are advantages to having a critical mass of people that would allow us to do things in missions, training, education, and outreach that we wouldn’t be able to do at a smaller size. Additionally, one of the reasons we are an Expositors Seminary campus is to train up men who will be sent out to plant churches locally, around the U.S., and maybe even internationally.
Q. Do the most recent renderings actually represent what Phase I, II, III, etc. will look like?
As with any design project, whether it’s commercial, governmental, or whatever, the early renderings are conceptual. They still need to go through a thorough engineering evaluation. So we probably will have some changes to the building in order to meet code and conserve costs. But we’d like to keep it in line with the original renderings. Our desire is to maintain the spirit of those original drawings as much as possible.
Q. In looking at the master plan, it appears the flow of people traffic will in some cases be exposed to the unconditioned elements between buildings (e.g. going from Bible study to service, etc.). Is that correct?
In Phase I, all of the traffic will take place in conditioned (air conditioned and heated) space. As we move into Phases II and III, there will be small corridors on the ground level where you will have to pass through a 15-20 foot walkway that will be covered, but not conditioned. The upstairs portion of the walkway will likely be conditioned. None of the pass-throughs between buildings will expose people to rain. They will all be covered.
The Parking and Land Lease
One of the most exciting developments is the opportunity that has arisen to lease some of our land to the outlet mall developer for overflow parking. As part of this lease, the developer would build out a substantial portion of our parking lot, saving us approximately $1 million or more. This lease has yet to be signed, but we are working diligently with the developer to make this happen.
Q. Would leasing a portion of our parking lot leave us enough parking spaces for all of our needs?
The developer understands that we’ll need to have access to the parking lot at various times to function as a church. We are working with them to determine the best way to handle that. Beyond our regular scheduled use, we are looking at having a provision written into the contract saying that the church will have access to the parking lot with a 48-hour notice to the leasee. This would enable us to use the parking for events such as weddings, funerals, and conferences.
Q. What if the developer chooses not to proceed with a lease on the parking lot? Would we still proceed forward? If so, how would this change things?
Yes, we would still proceed. The parking lot lease with the developer would allow us to build with full asphalt, lights, landscaping, and parking space striping. But if we don’t proceed with the deal, we would use gravel (except for handicap spots), reduce the parking lot size, and eliminate the planned roadway that goes to Rope Mill Rd (meaning the only entrance to the church would be off of Woodstock Pkwy).
Q. How many parking spaces will we have initially in Phase I? What about proposed parking count at Phase III (final)?
If we finalize the land lease, there will be 600 spaces developed. This will be more than enough for Phase I, as we currently use about 300 spaces. As for Phases II and III, we haven’t detailed out the buildings or the parking.
Architects and Design
With a project of this size and scope, we’ve had to rely on professionals to help with the design, engineering, and other aspects of the project. We hope the following information answers some of the questions you may have concerning these professionals and how we are handling this aspect of the build.
Q. How much money was invested in our previous building design and architects? Have we been able to retain any of that work?
We spent around $60,000 on the earlier plans. We have been able to use much of the work they did during the schematic-design phase. Beyond that, because of our change of architects, we will end up paying substantially lower architecture costs than we would have if we had continued with the original architects throughout the process.
Q. If Stephen Fuller is unpaid, are there any assurances that the final product will be as seamless and beautiful compared to utilizing a full-service, paid architectural firm?
We are grateful that Stephen Fuller, a renowned architect, has graciously donated his services. While we believe Stephen is a consummate professional, we also have contracted an engineering team under the leadership of Calbert Design Group, which will oversee and stamp the final designs. They are bonded and licensed. This will ensure that everything we’re doing is up to code and industry standards.