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$37.5 million First Baptist Concord project
Initial phase, slated to begin this fall, emphasizing youth-related expansion

First Baptist Church of Concord is preparing for a $37.5 million two-phase renovation and expansion project that would expand its ability to serve the community.

Jennifer Lasater, director of guest and member services for the church, said the church has 8,000 members plus a large number of community members who use the church facilities but aren’t church members. For example, of the 2,000 children that attended Concord Quest Vacation Bible School this past week, 42 percent were non-members. Out of the 405 students that attend Concord Christian School, 44 percent of them are not members of the church.

“We have a lot of activities going on here that affect members of the community as well as church members,” Lasater said. “We’re expanding to meet the needs of our church and the community.”

She said the average square footage on the church campus is 19 years old. Some of the buildings are at least 44 years old, part of the original church when it moved to the Kingston Pike location in 1962.

Lasater said the first phase of the project, slated to begin around October, would include construction of what the church is calling a Student Place, Preschool and Children’s Place and a Gathering Place. A series of classrooms would be constructed in the area adjacent to the former pre-school area to house senior adult classes on the first floor.

A new two-story pre-school building would be constructed behind the existing Family Life Center.

“We’ll have security measures in place to make sure unauthorized people won’t be permitted in there,” Lasater said. “We can’t be too cautious when it comes to children.”

The student place is a new facility for youth on the east end of the campus. Lasater said the facility would include classrooms, recreational space and a new gymnasium. It would also include an outdoor amphitheater for events.

A large round building called the gathering place would be erected between the worship center and the existing Family Life Center. Lasater said this building would house church offices and could also serve as a banquet facility.

Some of the acreage the church owns on the east side of Bellaire Drive would be turned into athletic fields for church activities. Lasater said the church owns 19 acres along Belleaire Drive and intends to make use of some of that acreage.

Phase 2 of the project would include exterior reconstruction on buildings E and F, including a bell tower. Demolition of the smaller A-frame building and existing pre-school area to increase parking capabilities would also take place during Phase 2. Covered areas would be added to the west end of the campus.

“We’re a part of the community and we believe in being good neighbors,” she said. “We will be holding a series of community meetings to get feedback from the Belleaire, Glen Abbey and Shiloh residents on our expansion plans.”

Lasater said one of the questions the church and the town had been working together on is the possible re-routing of Belleaire Drive so residents of the subdivision wouldn’t have to deal with traffic from church activities or construction.

“We’re working closely with the town on the entire construction project,” she said. “We would like to go above and beyond what the town requires so we can continue to be a good neighbor.”


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