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Bilberry Baptist Church

Bilberry Baptist Church in Orleans, Ontario, has a small but growing congregation, and it has built its construction in phases.

Phase I was a small multipurpose hall that doubled as the sanctuary. It included a kitchen and foyer and was augmented with portable modular units for offices and classrooms. Bilberry’s own growth, plus the decision to share its facility with a sister congregation of French-speaking Baptists — the Église Évangélique Baptiste d’Orleans — was the impetus for planning phase II. A 7,000-square-foot expansion would allow both congregations to meet on Sunday morning and encourage new membership in both groups.

“With only the first building, we had to have two morning services, and the French church had to meet in the afternoon,” said Richard Turle, chairman of the phase II building committee. “We wanted to add a new worship hall that could seat around 400 people, an expanded foyer, another multi-purpose room, more Sunday school space, and more parking.”

Economical, Effective Design
The church chose Ralph Vandenberg of Vandenberg & Wildeboer Architects of Kanata, Ontario, to design the expansion and BBS Construction Ltd., a Butler Builder in Ottawa, as its construction manager.

BBS Construction had also been construction manager for phase I — a conventional structure — but Bilberry looked at other construction managers, as well.

“We were doing this primarily with borrowed money, and we wanted to stay open to new ideas. We interviewed a number of companies, but once we met with BBS, that was it,” Turle said. “Richard Bosman of BBS Construction and his staff were very helpful in making suggestions that would save us money. They understood what we were after — all the way through the process.”

Architect Vandenberg also aimed at making the most of every construction dollar. His concept placed the new sanctuary to the right of the original building, with the other elements bridging the space between. The temporary classrooms, which will be replaced in a third phase of construction, were kept, with some connected to the expanded foyer in front and the rest moved to the rear of the new sanctuary. The new 4,000-square-foot sanctuary complemented the original building, also featuring a clearstory window along the roof peak

The interior design for the sanctuary interior was simple but striking — featuring shaped wallboard backlit by recessed lighting and bold accent colors.

Systems for the Sanctuary
Richard Bosman of BBS quickly realized that the sanctuary would be ideal for systems construction.

“In addition to economically providing the kind of open interior the church needed, the Widespan structural system would support the clearstory window, and we could give them a low-maintenance roof system with an excellent insulation system, as well,” he said.

 Turle said, “We wanted a single span, with no pillars in the way. We saw that it would be simpler in construction. We could have this high space — very appropriate in a church — and that it would have a long life.”

Some years before, BBS had replaced the original roof system on the temporary structures with the low-maintenance VSR architectural standing seam roof system, and they used the VSR system for the sanctuary roof. For energy efficiency, Bosman installed the ThermaLiner insulation system with R-30 insulation. The ThermaLiner system also has an attractive, finished metal liner panel that enhanced the contemporary, open structure of the ceiling.

To tie it to the original structure and the rest of the expansion, the sanctuary exterior was given pre-finished wood wall panels to match.

A Beautiful Result
The majestic red and blue accents inside the sanctuary have a powerful effect with its white walls and ceiling.

Because the church needed an AV screen at the front of the church, the clearstory window was used only at the rear of the sanctuary, leaving the screen dark enough to read when in use. Auxiliary and accent lighting provide illumination when needed.

The focal point and finishing touch for the interior of the sanctuary is its simple wooden cross — rescued from a demolished Canadian Army chapel in Ottawa and lovingly cleaned and restored by members of the congregation

The building committee was delighted with the quality and appearance of the completed construction and pleased that so much could be accomplished on a frugal budget.

“I’ve done a number of construction jobs at work, and I’m well aware that although you set out with a certain number in mind, it seldom gets achieved. BBS did such an excellent job. I can’t imagine anyone doing anything better for us,” Turle said. “We have an ex-RCMP officer who was serving in Haiti during the disaster. When he returned and saw the completed worship hall, he came up to me and said, ‘I don’t know what to say — this is such a fantastic, impressive design.’ That affirmation was so satisfying. If you do a good building, and it lasts a long time, it’s worth investing in.”

Butler Manufacturing is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and is a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc. Butler provides a comprehensive combination of design-build construction solutions and innovative building technology to the nonresidential market, www.butlermfg.com.

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