In the spring of 2017 a church visioning was initiated. A sub team was formed and focused on the downtown facilities impacted the way how newcomers and visitors were welcomed here. We looked at the layout, upkeep, appearance, people flow which detracted from giving a good first impression to someone not familiar with our building and ministries. Some were easy to address and perhaps you may have noticed some changes: the trash dumpster no longer greets people across; cracks and dings on some walls have been repaired and painted, the quad has been decluttered, three restrooms were repainted, and Room 210 is undergoing a facelift.
Some items that we noticed will take more time and effort to address. When the east elevator entrance was built 20 years ago, the church building became more accessible, but it created a different foot traffic pattern that created a wandering path through several rooms in order to get into the church. It is pretty obvious where to go when someone enters through the west doors near the sanctuary, however it is not as obvious now when someone comes in from the east elevator entrance. Another problem is there is not a clearly designated place where someone can find out more about our church, ministries, opportunities, classroom locations for themselves and children.
We developed this concept to address these two issues. It impacts the current overflow area, welcome desk and area commonly referred to as “the nametag room”. This plan begins with a 40 foot long wall that would be built below the balcony in the overflow room. As the rendering shows, it would be trimmed to match the look inside the sanctuary and look like a part of it. The seating would remain along the railing and there would be an aisle next to the wall.
To improve the traffic pattern and eliminate the need to wander through rooms, there would be changes at the top of the east stairs. The area by the restroom would be widened and a double doorway would be installed that would open into the room created on the south side of the new wall in the overflow space. The signage would provide a newcomer two obvious choices for coming into the building. Neither choice would require them to go through room 210. All the existing walls in this new area would be removed to create a huge space measuring 28 ft. x 55 ft. A Welcome Center could be located at the west end so it would be visible from all entrances to this room. Of course, to be effective, members of the congregation would need to be willing to staff it and provide directions and information. This space could be a meeting place, and serve as a crossroads to other rooms in the church. This proposal would include upgrading the flooring and lighting from the elevator to the west stairs.
This concept was presented to Trustees in February and was approved to move into the design phase where we will develop detailed drawings from which bids can be made. Depending on the amount of volunteer help and the level of materials selected for flooring, ceiling and lighting, we estimate the cost will fall between 40 and 70 thousand dollars. The sub team will be working with Trustees as the design proceeds and we will keep the congregation informed through periodic updates on the website and on a bulletin board outside the sanctuary. We would like your feedback, ideas, and input as we move into the design. Feel free to talk to anyone on the sub team. We’re excited about the possibilities this plan has for our church and we hope you will be as well.