master-site-planFor the past few years, St. Nicholas has been developing the plan for our future growth. This started back in 2009, when we decided to move to 2 services as a way to relieve some seating in the main service. St. Nicholas has only grown more since then. The 11:00am service quickly jumped back to the numbers we had when we only had one service. More recently, the 8:30 service has grown, while the 11:00 service continues to draw our biggest crowd. With these things in mind, and the increased use of our buildings during the week for activities, programs, and events, the Strategic Planning Committee (Scott Crowley, Connie Blackmon, Chris Butzon, Larry Nordin, Gene Demonet, Phebe Robertson, and Fr. Jeff) has been working on how to move us forward with growth in mind.

First, we interviewed several architectural firms to help us develop a process and a plan for our future site. We chose Hank Houser of Houser Walker Architects, who not only is an excellent architect with experience on several church projects, but he also serves on the Architecture Commission of the Diocese of Atlanta. Hank was chosen not only because he can design beautiful buildings, but he excels in Master Site planning.

The Master Site planning process took several weeks of work by the Strategic Planning Committee and Hank’s firm. First, Hank met with the entire congregation in a Town Hall Meeting on September 25, 2011 to get ideas, feedback, and dreams. You can read all the responses by clicking here.

Hank went back and started on the plan. He came back and met with the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). He gave us multiple examples of a Master Site Plan based on our responses in the Town Hall Meeting. The SPC chose several things we liked in each of the examples. Hank took those responses and went back to work. He met the SPC again a couple of weeks later and gave a preliminary plan. We tweaked it a little and sent him back. Finally, on November 6, 2011 Hank joined us again and gave us the full presentation of the Master Site Plan.

The entire plan can be viewed by clicking here.

Below you can see what we came up with. The plan has 2 major phases with 2 sub phases in each. You can click on any of the images in this post to get a larger view.

phase-1aPhase 1a constructs a 3,000 square foot addition to provide much needed spaces for meeting, formation, robing and worship support. The addition would also provide new space for the administrative spaces that are currently located in the existing building, enabling those existing spaces to better serve as additional service overflow and pre and post service gathering space. The addition would connect to the existing building with a covered walk to create a portal to the memorial garden. The estimated cost of this first phase is approximately $750,000. The first phase program should grow or shrink based on the established final budget. However, the addition should not be reduced below 2,000 square feet. The meeting room in both Phase 1a and 1b would remain dual functioning space for worhip services and parish life functions.

phase-1bPhase 1b expands the existing church building by expanding the width and depth of the church to increase the room capacity to approximately 180. A kitchen would be added to support the functioing of the parish life events. Other spaces in the existing church building are also renovated to increase capacity of the narthex and worship support. An additional 40 parking spaces would be added, also providing a vehicular connection to Blue Springs Road. The estimated costs associated with this work are approximately $1,080,000.


Phase 2a provides an exterior amphitheater and covered pavilion. The estimated costs with this scope of work are $340,000.


Phase 2b would add a two-story, 18,000 square foot addition to the south of the exiting church along the edge of the topographical drop. The upper floor would provide a 250 person capacity dedicated worship space. This floor would align vertically with the elevation of the existing building. The lower floor would house educational spaces to support the church. The original building would become dedicated to parish life events. Spaces in the building built in Phase 1a used for education and meeting, would become repurposed for administrative functions. Additional exterior plazas at the main entry and lower educational entry would be provided. Estimated costs for this phase are $4.9 million.

Of course, these phases represent further growth of the size of our congregation over the next 10, 20, or 30 years. The SPC’s next task is to determine the feasibility of our congregation engaging in a capital funds campaign so that we might begin on the first phase. As the plans unfold, we will continue to update the congregation on what’s going on. As always, you can ask questions about anything by contacting Scott Crowley, Fr. Jeff, or any of the members of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Here are more shots from the Master Site Plan.