Multiplying Impact with a Building Addition: West Bridge Church
Aspen Group engaged with West Bridge Church in 2014 to determine the feasibility of expanding and renovating their current facility. Located about 20 miles outside of Indianapolis in the small but growing town of Danville, Indiana, West Bridge Church continues to attract young families.
With two Sunday services averaging nearly 500 in attendance, church leaders wanted to find ways to enhance their facility so that it could serve as a strategic ministry tool. What began as a project to add sanctuary seats for adults, quickly turned into a focus on making space for future growth and outreach to kids.
“Our team, in conjunction with focus groups with the church, were able to identify the key ministry growth drivers and barriers that West Bridge was facing,” says Bob Gray, an Aspen Group Project Developer. “The mission to grow youth and kids space became evident early on in the process.”
Though creating space for youth became the focus of the building project, the church building also required some updates, including a new septic system, added parking, and an elevator.
“The church had not seen a major renovation or maneuvered through a fund raising effort for many years,” says Gray. “There had to be a solid strategy in order for this project to succeed.”
With the help of West Bridge’s leadership and the Aspen team, Gray says we were able to develop a team of true partners to design and construct a complex structure.
“God had a plan to bring people together in order to deliver something bigger, which would ultimately lead to greater ministry impact,” he says.
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Building a Second Story
Aspen Group collaborated with the West Bridge team to develop a brand new, two-story, 11,400 square foot elementary and high school ministry space. A new worship area provides tiered seating for up to 132 students, and casual seating in the activity spaces for more than 40 students.
The space is fully outfitted with state of the art audio, video, and lighting (AVL). The second story of the new building houses the elementary classroom spaces and a large group room.
“We had a huge kick-off for our high school ministry, and 140 students attended,” says Tyson Herald, associate pastor at West Bridge. “Our usual attendance is between 60-80.
It's so great to have room for all those students. And shortly after the kick-off, two kids chose to trust Jesus as their Savior!”
The new building addition also provides elevator access to each of the three levels, something the church never had before.
“The addition of the elevator was awesome!” says Herald.
“Before, people had to carry one of our disabled students upstairs; he is thrilled to now have the elevator. You don’t know you need an elevator until you have one.“
Discovering Needs vs Wants
In the end, West Bridge’s phase one $2.8 million design/build/furnish project included:
- Two-story, 11,400 square foot addition for new student ministry space
- New elevator
- New septic system
- 75 additional parking stalls
“Working with Aspen Group was helpful,” says Tyson.
“They always challenged us by asking, ‘What's the ministry impact?’ for each item. It showed us that we needed to consider or pray about each item more. You think you know what you need, but that's not always correct. The Aspen process felt like it pushed us away from things we wanted and steered us toward what we really needed.”
Aspen Group leads every church through a Discovery process as part of its building process. “Having seen West Bridge’s building in action, I am encouraged now more than ever that our intentional Discovery process leads a church to deeper conversations and greater ministry opportunities,” says Gray. “Discovery allows a church to develop the right space, which will lead to true ministry alignment–especially when prayer is the common component of the process.”