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  Strawberry Plains Presbyterian Church Family Life Center

Falconnier Design Company
4622 Chambliss Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37919

LOCATION: Strawberry Plains, Tennessee
Bid Date: August 2005
Construction Period: Oct 2005 to Sep 2006
Total Square Feet: 11,236 Site: 2.02 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 11,236; total, 11,236 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 28’; total, 28’. 
Basic Construction Type: Pre-Engineered/New.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade, spread footings. Exterior Walls: CMU, brick. Roof: Metal, asphalt shingles. Floors: Concrete. 
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: 4th Dimension Designs - 817 Venture Court, Waukesha, WI 53189
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: George W. Reagan Company - 1700 Grainger Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37927
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Vreeland Engineers, Inc. - P.O. Box 10648, Knoxville, TN 37939
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Albert F. G. Bedinger Consulting Engineers, P.C. - 500 Clyde Street, Knoxville, TN 37921

Additions to church buildings are always a challenge; from deciding what functions are to go into them to determining how it will integrate with the existing building and, finally, how to make them affordable.

For the Strawberry Plains Presbyterian Church, all three issues were a major concern. The small but well-established congregation located just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee was already in need of more room for their youth and community outreach ministries, and expressed a desire to have a room large enough for fellowship meals and youth activities but which could also be used for worship services if they should out grow their existing sanctuary. The answer was a multi-use type building which would contain classrooms, restrooms, a gymnasium, a platform for performances, a kitchen and, of course, storage. However, such a building could dwarf the church’s existing facility, so it was of the utmost importance to determine a tasteful way to connect the two structures and still have a composition which is pleasing to the eye.

Falconnier Design Company, architects, working with George W. Reagan Co., general contractor, proved to be up to the triple challenge of working closely with the church to determine the design, integrating the new 11,236-square-foot addition into the existing church campus and finally executing it in an extremely cost-effective manner.

Many church family life centers often look like huge, out-of-place boxes, which is determined by the height requirements for the gymnasium to provide space for basketball and volleyball. With a small church, however, the volume of the “box” needs to be scaled down to fit the context. The design team accomplished this by locating the ancillary spaces; the class rooms, restrooms, platform, kitchen and storage around the gymnasium “box”. The roof of these spaces is lower, and is hipped, with the same architectural shingles as the existing building. The shorter walls, sloping roofs and finishes helped to diminish the visual impact of the “box” of the gymnasium while incorporating some of the design elements and materials of the existing church. Another feature which helps achieve a human scale is the entrance to the new building. The steep pitch of the roof and the cross formed into the storefront represent to the visitor that this is a church facility. The main church entrance faces the street, but the new entrance faces the campus and is handicapped accessible, making it the more “user-friendly” entrance.

To help control the budget, a cost-effective mix of exterior materials was selected. It was not economically feasible for the entire addition to be brick, so the solution was the use a brick wainscot around the base of the building, matching the brick of the existing building. A balance of split-faced block, standard block and stucco, painted and colored to be complementary, provide a pleasing exterior composition which integrates well with the existing church.

Other cost-effective measures include north-facing windows for day-lighting in the gymnasium, advanced high-bay fluorescent lighting to reduce heat and energy use, and ground mounted HVAC systems to reduce structural costs.

Their new family life center now complete, the Strawberry Plains Presbyterian church can look forward to many more years of effective community ministry.

DIV. 4: Brick: General Shale.
DIV: 7: Metal: VP Buildings; Shingles: Elk.
DIV. 8: Curtainwall, Entrances & Storefronts: YKK AP America. 
DIV. 9: Paint: Pittsburgh; VCT: Armstrong; Carpet: Patcraft; Rubber Base: Johnsonite; Acoustical Treatment: Armstrong; Laminate: Nevamar.
DIV. 13: Pre-Engineered Structure: VP Buildings. 
DIV. 16: Lighting: Lithonia.

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