The Orchard Vernon Hills: A Full Sunday Experience on the First Floor
We’ve had the privilege at Aspen to work with many churches over the years on multisite campuses, helping them to better serve their congregations, neighborhoods, and communities. The Orchard, located in the Chicago area, is a multisite we’ve been blessed to work with multiple times. Established in 1953, The Orchard's congregation was made up of 43 people who met in a school auditorium in Arlington Heights, Illinois. They've since grown to more than 3,000 people in six locations.
After previously renovating their Arlington Heights campus in 2017, we began a renovation of their Vernon Hills campus from a former medical office building into a “full Sunday experience” on the first floor.
The Search for a Permanent Home
The Orchard’s Vernon Hills congregation had been meeting in a local hotel—not an ideal church experience—so they knew they had to find a permanent 24/7 home. They came upon a former medical office building, but its sterile atmosphere and cramped corridors wasn’t a welcoming environment for a robust church experience, so they called us in to renovate the space.
As construction began, COVID hit, and they were faced with a decision to vacate their temporary space. But where could they find another short-term space to meet and worship until construction was completed? The set-up of their new building answered the need. A second entrance allowed for a path into the building and up a set of stairs to the second floor—completely avoiding the construction area. The congregation was able to meet and worship on-site of their future new home while work continued—what we call “Ministry in the Dust.” In October of 2021, the renovation was complete, generating rapid growth and momentum from the new space.
A Full Sunday Experience on the First Floor
Upon entry, a bright and open lobby and café space invites people to connect.
Soft seating, mixed with high- and low-top tables, provide options for gathering to build relationships.
There are clear sight lines from the lobby to the kid’s check-in area, which includes a nursery, mother’s room, classrooms, and a large group gathering space.
The lobby and kid's spaces flow naturally to the worship venue.
The intimate 200-seat worship venue is flanked with windows, bringing in lots of light, and includes an adjacent family room with a glass window.
Because the building had previously been an office, the space didn’t have the typical core of men’s and women’s restrooms, so they opted for groupings of ADA accessible family restrooms in the lobby and kid’s space on the first floor, giving them greater flexibility.
The Orchard’s newly renovated Vernon Hills campus space is helping the church continue to live out its mission of digging its roots deep into the Word of Christ, finding life in Jesus Christ and sharing it with others, and bearing fruit through praying, giving, serving, and inviting.
View The Orchard Vernon Hills full gallery here.
About Greg Snider
Greg Snider joined Aspen Group in 1999 in the role of partnering with churches to discover how to maximize their facilities and create space for ministry impact. He has written and presented on the power of connecting space, building churches for community impact, and the hybrid "phygital" church experience.