New Connection Point for Popular Church

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Westside Church Project Eases Crowding and Paves Way for Next Phase

Westside_Church_002There is a fresh focal point for Bend’s thriving Westside Church following the unveiling of an 8,400 square foot addition built to link with a future planned phase which will encompass a new 1,000-seat worship center.

The extension features a spacious vaulted main upper lobby, or atrium, complete with a pyramid skylight, a lower lobby area adjoining the existing network of buildings, a café and a store some four times larger than the previous
retail outlet.

With the popularity of the Foursquare Church-affiliated facility continually increasing, a decision was made several years ago to add to the main campus, off Shevlin Park Road, in a two-phased program to ease overcrowding and spread costs. A fundraising effort was initiated, and by early last year enough had been gathered to green light the initial part ofthe project.

Once the final dollar target is hit, work will continue to open up into a new sanctuary, with the current 600-seat worship area to be turned over to children’s ministry.

Westside Church Facilities Director Rod Kirk said, “The atrium area is now effectively the main entrance to the church and acts as a new connecting point, or gathering area, which can be used before or after services, or opened up for community use. This also helps ease congestion, especially during the busy weekend service times, as people can hang out for a while rather than all arriving or leaving at once.

“It is also a real tribute to the congregation that the money necessary to complete this critical first phase which also lays the groundwork for the next step was collected during the last two or three years in the midst of tough economic times.”

A structural CMU and steel exterior blending in with the existing character of the church leads into an updated interior featuring sloped glue lam beams and ceramic tile flooring with wood and stone finish. The main wall is also flanked with a series of flat screen TVs which can be utilized to provide a live feed of church services.

A major part of the construction project, undertaken by Bend-based general contractor HSW Builders, was a comprehensive overhaul of infrastructure which had become somewhat convoluted after a series of additions to the original structure over the last two decades in a campus that spans over 60,000 square feet.

Senior Project Manager Brett Matteis, of HSW, said, “The biggest challenge was that the majority of the infrastructure had to be relocated and updated, including creating a new fire line loop, and a lot of planning went in to re-routing main utility services to create a repositioned hub, which also smoothes the way to prepare for the next phase.

“Other components included installing a major new two-hour firewall between the sections and working through a number of points with the City; but we were able to bring teams together, put the issues on the table and work out in a proactive manner.

“Actual construction started in the fall and we worked through the winter to make our target timeframe.”

Kirk added, “HSW were real experts in tying the old building in with the new, and their professionalism and expertise was also instrumental in other areas such as navigating numerous planning processes with the City, and delivering all our requirements in terms of having a multi-media emphasis.

“They were also highly considerate, especially under the guidance of Project Superintendent Gordon Crews, in keeping parking and internal areas clear to allow the church to function as normally as possible during construction work.

“The new atrium section not only eases flow and increases capacity, but will also be a major boost to our outreach and volunteer programs as the community can gather and watch power point presentations in preparation for going out in the field.”

Kirk said that the construction and design hiring process was overseen by the church’s Building and Architectural Review Team (BART) made up of knowledgeable individuals, and they had assembled a top-class group to steer the project including HSW, church design specialist Jack Ross of California-based NAI Architecture/Planning, Pat Morgan Architect of Colorado Springs and Gary Miles of Harvest Time consulting out of Bellingham, Washington.

Ross added, “I got involved as part of a team that we typically form for projects of this type, including Gary Miles, who is a former pastor and specializes in providing a strategic ministry plan, particularly for big churches trying to handle rapid growth.

“Pat Morgan then facilitated a series of meetings with ministry teams, going through developing the program to accommodate existing and future needs, and sketching out ideas about spaces, form and function.

“This gives a real hands-on experience for all people involved in the church, and everyone gets a buy-in to the design process. I work on West Coast projects and put the three-dimensional aspects into design and construction requirements.

“It was a somewhat complex project, given the amount of previous iterations and the logistics in making new connections, but the addition has the advantage of being somewhat screened from neighbors and creating a natural courtyard for outdoor patio gatherings.

“Now the new connecting point provides a more modern feel, together with extra space, and the heavy lifting has been done in anticipation of the new worship center, meaning the whole thing will meld better with existing buildings.

“The new worship center that will be built next will also reflect more contemporary worship styles and feature a large platform and multi-media technologies including hi-tech sound systems and advanced theatrical lighting, which could, for example, also accommodate travelling Christian concert groups.

“Also, I must say everyone involved in this project was fantastic from beginning to end, including Brett Matteis, Project Manager Scott Maxwell, Gordon Crews and the rest of the people at HSW, and Rod Kirk who was a great owner’s representative and had an extensive knowledge of the existing building.”

Westside Church, 2051 NW Shevlin Park Road, Bend, 541- 382-7504, www.westsidechurch.org.

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