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First Baptist Church of Jacksonville

December 4, 2019 jill Blog
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Atlanta architecture firm CDH Partners designed a new church for First Baptist Church of Jacksonville that provides everything the congregation needs to fulfill their ministries, invite new members and adapt for growth.

In 2016, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, was looking to expand their outreach to the greater metro area.

Nocatee, a planned community near Ponte Vedra Beach, was one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation that year. At just 30 minutes from its main campus, the church had found its ideal location for a satellite.

For a while, the only place the church could meet was a high school gymnasium. So, the church partnered with CDH Partners in Atlanta, Georgia, to design and build a brand-new home for their Nocatee worship community.

The architecture and interior design firm’s Worship + Community Studio spent several years working with the church on a master plan that could accommodate their membership as it continues to grow.

They decided to execute the project in two phases, which will total nearly 62,000 square feet in new construction.

Jonathan Fallin, project manager, said, “By splitting the project up into two phases, the church could better manage the process and focus it on sustainable growth. Phase 1 gives them a home, but phase 2 will make them an anchor. It will allow the campus to grow as the congregation grows and enhance their impact in the community. Their facilities will become a centralized meeting point where residents can come together in a warm, Christ-centered atmosphere.”

In April 2019, Phase 1 opened to the congregation, introducing their new interior and exterior gathering spaces, full-service cafes, kitchen, classrooms, music rooms, administration suite, youth ministry and more.

At 20,919 square feet, the church has generous space to expand their outreach and serve the Nocatee community through education, fellowship and faith.

One of the most important features the church wanted to include was a recreational facility, in a nod to its humble beginnings at the local gym. The church’s leadership was so grateful for their warm welcome into the community that they wanted to give back by opening their athletic facilities to the public.

What’s more, CDH designed their main meeting space as a multi-purpose room; on Sunday mornings, it functions as a state-of-the-art worship auditorium, but during the week, it transforms into a gymnasium with full basketball court.

This dual-purpose room presented a challenge to CDH’s design team, as the architects wanted to prioritize a powerful worship experience without sacrificing the recreational amenities.

Yet the interior design work quickly dispelled any lingering hesitation that the members would feel like they were worshiping in a gym.

Much of this was due to the firm’s collaboration with the audio, visual and lighting designers and acousticians. CDH Partners worked closely with these experts to find innovative techniques to integrate these two distinct concepts.

In the end, they implemented the best of both worlds without sacrificing the distinct experience of either one.

The congregation is so happy with their new home that they are already anxious for the next beautiful addition. In Phase 2, they will add a sanctuary, school and youth ministries, with even more spaces to gather in fellowship.

The church’s leadership has described this journey as a dream come true for their congregation. The design and construction team have helped elevate their story from humble beginnings and launched new life for their flourishing membership.

With this two-phase project, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is successfully expanding into a thriving community. Their satellite campus at Nocatee will help them prioritize local connections, boost community outreach and secure a foothold in the greater metro area.

By designing with expansion in mind, the CDH Partners team made sure the church’s beautiful facilities could grow along with their members.

As architects of more than 700 church projects, CDH Partners understands that your mission defines your ministries and your ministries define the development of your facilities,





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