October 15, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

Several clients have included a church family life center in their plans, but could raise only a portion of the building cost.  One congregation decided to build just the steel structure until they could raise the money to add all the rest.  This phased construction has given them a covered, all-weather hall as a phase-one multi-purpose space.

family life center phase resized 600

The completed Hall will be connected to the new Education wing.  The open-air Pavilion functions well as an interim multi-use space.

Unity Church of the Hills in Austin, Texas put in the overall structure, roof and slab and now uses the room as an open-air pavilion.  We worked with them to modify the plans so that the walls, windows, kitchen, air-conditioning and other building elements and finishes could come in a later phase.  Fortunately, the adjacent classroom building was already planned to house the bathrooms. 

Family Life Center PavilionSome high-dollar elements couldn't wait for the later phase.  We still needed to provide a full fire-sprinkler system for the building, even though it wasn't enclosed yet.  The church decided to pay for a premium metal roof to match the existing building.   A few items, like the lights, may not necessarily be re-used in the final phase when the building is enclosed.

We've collected a number of resources for anyone considering the the design or renovation a space of this kind.  Here's a link to our Fellowship Hall Resources and Church Kitchen Resources.  My partner, Eric MacInerney has recently blogged about the many elements that go into a successful multi-user space.  His ten tips are available as a download and are a wonderful guide - even if you might be building in phases.Designing Church Multipurpose Rooms

Fellowship Hall