Posted in projects on October 7, 2014 1:29 pm EDT

Realizing Vision, Revamping Space

Expansion and renovation help a Washington church reach to the core of community ministry needs.

Columbia Presbyterian Church, Vancouver, Wash., benefits from the teamwork of Merit Construction Northwest and BCRA Architects.











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TAGS: adaptive reuse, building materials, collaboration, renovation,


By Church Designer Staff

In August of 2010, a Washington state church realized its need for revamped ministry space. So Vancouver, Wash.’s Columbia Presbyterian Church staff contacted Merit Construction Northwest of Lakewood, Wash., through Arlington, Texas-based National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB). The church needed direction on how to move forward with expansion and modifications and wanted a firm that could understand its mission and vision—and help guide them through the building process.

The church sought additional sanctuary space (they were already at three services), a larger gathering area, a fellowship hall, and a youth area. Merit and architectural firm BCRA of Tacoma, Wash., also an NACDB member, took the church through the “Visioning Process” to better understand the core needs essential to the ministry.

Renovation upgrades include new electrical service, lighting and controls, insulation, windows, HVAC, kitchen equipment, elevator, fire protection, and AVL.

Starting fresh

After three years of design collaboration, budget reviews and a capital campaign, building began in July 2013. Construction included renovations to approximately 32,000 square feet of existing buildings that were built in the years of 1956, 1964 and 1985. The project also included 9,000 square feet of new addition and was carried out in three separate phases to allow use of the existing facilities during construction.

Phase 1 entailed renovations to the education wing during the summer, and when school resumed, detailed coordination was needed to ensure the safety of the students and visitors while construction continued. A close relationship was created with school administrators during the remainder of the project.

Merit Construction’s superintendent reportedly coordinated a number of construction learning opportunities for the students, welcomes by students and staff alike. The existing entry, sanctuary and downstairs fellowship hall was Phase 2, which included the demolition of portions of the existing structures. Northwest learned through the “Visioning Process” that the church wanted to preserve and respect its past heritage, so the existing sanctuary roof and altar wall were left in place.  continued >>