Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Church looking to grow with addition

May 30, 2007

The members of the First Baptist Church of Basehor feel the soon-to-be new addition to their building will be a blessing.

The 10,000-square-foot space will be larger than the existing building and will stand to the northwest of the church. Al Knapp, chairman of the church's building committee, said the addition has been deemed the Family Life Center.

He said the church hopes to use the extra space for more than just Sunday school classrooms. First Baptist sees it as a way to reach out to the community.

"There will be an additional auditorium for musical presentations and concerts, as well as a sports center," Knapp said. "We've talked about a basketball league or women's aerobics. We just see it as a real outreach or ministry to the community."

The idea of an addition started when church members noticed they were simply outgrowing their existing facility. The main floor consisted of the sanctuary, and the lower level contained offices, Sunday school classrooms and Little Friends Preschool. The Fellowship Hall is also downstairs.

"The preschool was meeting in the Fellowship Hall," Knapp said. "They had to dismantle the preschool every time they wanted to use the Fellowship Hall for something else. It was quite a hassle to go through that numerous times a week. And, we were just flat outgrowing the Sunday school space. One class was meeting in the sanctuary," Knapp said.

The congregation came up with a wish list for the church through a survey and formed a building committee of about eight people to come up with a plan.

The new space will consist of a large open space surrounded by classrooms. It will allow the church to move the pastor's and secretary's office to the main level as well as the Fellowship Hall. A new foyer with a kitchen will connect the two buildings.

"The Fellowship Hall will be at-grade rather than on the lower level so it is more accessible to seniors and folks with handicaps," Knapp said.

Sunday school classes will continue to use the space downstairs, as well as the new classrooms on the main level, Knapp said.

While the preschool will continue to operate on the lower level, it will be have its own entrance and parking. Parents and students currently go through the main entrance of the church and down two flights of stairs to attend school.

"The parking in the back and the nice, easy access into the preschool will make it easier for moms who have to carry babies in with their preschoolers," said Renee Wohletz, director of Little Friends Preschool.

The school playground will be moved around to the back of the building for easier access to students and teachers.

"The safety feature plays a role, too," she said. "We can be more controlled with the door and who comes in and out."

Knapp said the congregation hopes more space will make the church more conducive to worship, welcoming to new families, give them the opportunity to grow and step up the youth ministry.

"I think, first of all, it will allow us to continue to grow the Sunday school," he said. "It has grown from 40 people to 75 people in the last six months. We're desperately needing that space, and we should be able to continue to grow."

Knapp said the church has had a good experience working with the city of Basehor, Haren and Laughlin Construction Co. and David Joiner of Integral Design Architects on the project.

The church will have a groundbreaking for its new addition about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 3, with construction to start around June 19. It is expected to take six months to build, which will make the new addition ready for use by the end of the year, Knapp said.

"There will be a dedication service and a ceremonial groundbreaking," Knapp said. "It should be a nice event."

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