BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
Howard Batson & Trevor Brown
First Baptist Church of Amarillo needs more space! In fact, we have not constructed new educational space since 1973 (48 years ago). Therefore, over the last five decades, we have tried many measures to manage our growing space needs within our existing facilities.
For example, we have utilized a “temporary building” for 33 years that was actually intended for three years of use until a permanent building could be constructed. Unfortunately, the permanent replacement never came.
We have also adapted other facilities (such as the Family Life Center) for Bible study space on Sunday mornings, as we have nowhere else available to hold classes. For example, the Grande Room parlor and the upstairs recreational rooms have been adapted for Bible study. Members may have to maneuver around exercise bikes to get to Sunday School classes, but we have improvised.
Presently, we have zero space available to start new Sunday School classes. Zero. Recently, our Discover First (new members) class had to be housed in a very “out of the way” children’s classroom tucked away on the third floor. Our new and prospective church members had to meander through a maze of hallways and “follow the yellow brick road” of signs just to locate their inconveniently placed class.
Finally, our Student Ministry lacks adequate space for large student ministry events, like PrimeTime worship on Wednesdays or Disciple Now.
We must be willing to face the facts concerning our need for new facilities. Utilizing the Family Life Center or trying to get another ten years out of a temporary wooden structure are inadequate solutions to a permanent problem. In the coming days, therefore, our congregation will hear a joint recommendation from both the Properties Committee and Finance Committee proposing that we construct “The Loft,” a 70,000 square foot educational facility that will house all of our Student Ministry activities, provide state-of-the-art educational space for weekday use by a myriad of ministries at FBC (all ages), and provide a much-needed connection to Baptist Community Services’ Park Central campus. With this convenient connection, our senior adults at Park Central will have safe and climate-controlled passage to church via an enclosed sky bridge. With the construction of “The Loft” and a total relocation of our Student Ministry, we will also free up 20,000 square feet of prime educational space located on the fourth floor of our main building complex. As a result, students win, senior adults win, and young adult departments can continue to grow.
Additionally, as a part of this important project, “The Loft” will house a two-level parking garage that will be shared with Park Place Tower employees and guests during the week and provide our very best parking (most of it covered) for Sunday activities. No parking spaces will be lost.