Fulfillment of a dream
Public invited to tour new addition on Sunday
Clif Knight/Hartselle Enquirer
Members of East Highland Baptist Church in Hartselle will realize the fulfillment of a dream Sunday, Jan. 9, when they dedicate a new sanctuary addition and open it for public viewing.
The dedication of the 30,000 sq. ft. octagon-shaped addition will be the highlight of a combined worship service, beginning at 10:30 a.m. A public open house will follow from 2 to 5 p.m. No evening services are scheduled.
The new sanctuary, with a seating capacity of 845, is more than three times larger than the existing sanctuary, which seats 245. Its three sections of pews are laid out in a semi-circle and are accessible from three different entrances. The choir loft seats 58 and a balcony will seat 245 when it is finished. The interior is accented with stained glass windows and a cathedral ceiling finished in natural wood. All levels of the addition are served by an elevator.
A larger sanctuary means the church can eliminate the practice of conducting two worship services on Sunday morning, and still have space left to accommodate future growth, according to Rev. Blackman.
The addition includes a full basement, which will be completed at a later date. It will serve as a fellowship hall. New offices for church staff members are located on the main floor adjacent to the sanctuary. The old sanctuary and offices will be renovated and converted into classrooms.
A "Challenge to Build" stewardship campaign was used to help finance the project, according to Rev. Blackman. Church members committed nearly $800,000 over a three-year period. "We hope to renew the challenge next year and use the money to finish the fellowship hall," he said.
Other than the normal inconveniences that come with construction, the project has gone extremely well, said Rev. Blackman. "I give credit for that to our members who have been upbeat from the start."
Woodward Construction &Design of Hartselle was general contractor for the project. The architect was Chapman &Sisson.
The building committee consisted of Richard Gurley, co-chairman, Randy Stepp, David Jones and Barry Pike. A subcommittee had responsibility for decorating and furnishing the sanctuary.