WHAT WILL THE BUILDING BE USED FOR?

Phase one of the building plan will provide space to engage and reach Middle School, High School & College students with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will be a facility well equipped to expand student discipleship efforts such as small groups, Sunday school classes, and mid-week gatherings, due to its larger capacity and multi-use accessibility.


HOW MANY STUDENTS IS IT EXPECTED TO SERVE? (WILL WE HAVE SPACE TO GROW?)

The remodeled student facility includes classrooms and a large auditorium that will accommodate 275+ people. There is also a secondary auditorium that will seat 125+ people. Other spaces can be used as small group areas. This will double our current student auditorium capacity and is the first time in more than 15 years that Student and College Ministries will have dedicated classrooms.


DO WE REALLY NEED THIS FACILITY?

Through extensive investigation and research, the Special Planning Committee determined that our facilities were less than adequate for Middle School, High School, and College ministries. One glaring need is for classroom space as we are currently unable to break our students into small groups on Sunday mornings. All three ministries currently share one large room for their activities. The committee and church staff believe if we are going to be effective at reaching the next generation of middle school, high school, and college students it is imperative that we develop classroom, auditorium, fellowship and outreach space for these students.

HAS THE DESIGN BEEN COMPLETED? WHEN CAN WE SEE IT?

The Committee engaged Davis Architecture to develop the conceptual design. Fitts & Goodwin has assisted with construction recommendations and pricing. Plans will be available in early March for presentation to the Finance Committee and Deacons on Monday, March 9. We will then share them in Listening sessions on Wednesdays, March 11 and 18 at 5:30 as well as Sunday, March 15 at 11:45 in Ellis Hall. The plans will be presented in Church Conference for a vote on Sunday, March 22 at the conclusion of the worship service.

WHAT IS THE COST? WHAT IS THE GOAL FOR PROJECT: NEXT?

The goal of Project: Next is to raise the $6 million cost of the building acquisition and Phase 1 (as described above).

WHEN DO WE EXPECT RENOVATIONS TO BEGIN?

The Purchase Agreement allowed for the Downtown YMCA to continue operations in the building for 12 – 18 months. Based on information from the YMCA, we could probably start construction in mid-2016.

DOES PROJECT: NEXT START NOW? HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

The Launch to the Congregation will be Sunday, April 12. May 3rd will be our Churchwide Commitment Sunday. Project: Next is a three year initiative (May 2015 – April 2018). Please begin now asking God to lead you in your involvement in Project: Next.

THE BUILDING IS OLD – SHOULD WE JUST RAZE IT AND START OVER?

The building was constructed in 1911, so it is over 100 years old. It is a well-recognized Downtown Columbia building with historical significance. Due to the age of the building, the Planning Committee has considered all options. After thorough investigation, the committee has concluded the best plan is to renovate the layout and design of the building’s interior, create handicapped access to the building and address the fire prevention and egress needs through a master plan that can be executed in 2 or 3 phases. This will give the church nearly 80,000 square feet of potential space in an all brick, structurally sound building in a key space on our block.

WHAT WILL IT COST THE CHURCH TO OPERATE THE NEW BUILDING AFTER RENOVATIONS?

In 2014 a study was done by a Finance Subcommittee that estimated the annual operating cost of the building at $190,000. The phasing plan would postpone the full effect of operating in the “new” space somewhat, while it could expose us to some risk of additional repairs in areas not to be addressed until a later phase. We will continue to monitor and look for ways to minimize and plan for increasing operating expenses.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE EFLC?

It will continue to be utilized by the Estep Family Life Center for operations and activities and will undergo some remodeling during a future building phase.

DO WE PLAN TO KEEP THE POOL?

We do not intend to continue operation of the swimming pool located in the west basement level of the YMCA building for various reasons including maintenance, liability, staffing, and location. Phase two of the building plan will utilize the space where the pool is currently located for college ministry classrooms.

IF WE NEED CLASSROOMS FOR THE YOUTH TODAY, WHERE ARE THEY MEETING NOW?

We need classroom space for grades 6 thru college for Sunday morning purposes. Currently our 6th thru 12th grades meet together in one large room on Sunday mornings in the 1st level of the EFLC. And our college students meet after church around round tables in that same large room with little room for growth. There are no classrooms available for our students to use on Sunday mornings. We believe that the best way to really build disciples of Jesus Christ is in small groups, and our primary strategy for doing this at First Baptist is thru Sunday School. So classrooms for students is an essential for the future growth of our church.

WITH THE "Y" WE WILL HAVE TWO FULL SIZE GYMS THAT CAN BE USED AS A GENERAL ASSEMBLY HALL FOR LARGE GROUP MEETINGS, DO WE NEED TO BUILD A NEW ONE OR A "THEATRE" FOR YOUTH ASSEMBLIES?

As far as the space is concerned you are right on target, as the area that is currently the YMCA gym floor is where the auditorium is to be located; however, a gymnasium is not an ideal space for any large group gathering due to acoustical, HVAC and lighting limitations. That is the primary reason the EFLC gym is rarely used for large assemblies. Additionally, an ideal space for ministering to students would utilize technology advancements in audio visual equipment. We believe to be most effective in reaching the next generation we don't just need a large space, we need a space strategically designed as an auditorium for students. That is why we are excited about the possibility of constructing an auditorium on the present gym floor level of the YMCA building.