Lakewood Baptist church is adding about 15,000 square feet to its Thompson Bridge Road campus to expand its children’s and recreation ministries.
The estimated $2 million expansion will add about 8,000 square feet to the church’s ministry center, which is used for its recreation ministry. It will also add about 7,000 square feet to its areas for pre-kindergarten and younger children.
Recreation ministry space is used for basketball and other programs. The additional space will likely allow Lakewood to grow membership in its team sports. In the children’s area, the additional space will include additional classrooms, a play area and a covered drop-off area for children.
“We’re hoping to break ground, depending on the weather, sometime in April,” said the Rev. Don Ormsbee. “And then hopefully the project itself would take anywhere from 10 to 12 months to complete.”
Ormsbee, executive pastor at the church, said the demands for the expansion are there, especially when it comes to the ministry center.
“We actually had that need from day one,” Ormsbee said. “We knew we didn’t have enough space there to do what we needed to do, so it’s been in the works.”
Lakewood’s Upward Sports program which, according to its website, “helps church leaders leverage the power of sports to connect with families in their community,” has been growing ever since the partnership with the organization began. There are about 180 kids who participate in the church’s Upward basketball program. As the expansion adds another court and more storage space in the ministry center, Ormsbee said that number will be able to grow, which is long overdue.
“This will allow us, really, to double the size of what we can do,” Ormsbee said. “Right now, we’re slammed on Saturdays with just our Upward basketball program, so this will open up a court for that and then open up the courts perhaps to do some more adult volleyball leagues and that kind of thing.”
The children’s area is also in need of more space in the WeeCare area, which serves children from birth to 2 years old, as well as in the GroZone area, which serves children 2 to 4 years old.
“The GroZone area is where we have our Kid’s Cove Weekday program, so we’re just crunched for space there,” Ormsbee said. “So, (the expansion) is to add some other classrooms for more kids to come and learn.”
The expansion will add as many as six classrooms, as well as an indoor play area, more office space and bathrooms for adults.
One of the most needed additions, Ormsbee said, will be the addition of a covered drop-off space near the children’s area. Right now, parents have to drop their children off at the front of the church. The children then have to walk through the entire church, back to the children’s area. With the expansion, that process will be much more convenient.
“They’ll come straight into the building and they’ll walk right into GroZone,” Ormsbee said. “So that’s going to be much much better to have a covered drop-off when it’s raining. Parents can drop their kids off and kids don't have to get wet.”
In order to pay for the expansion, the Rev. Tom Smiley said in a press release that, “Our plan is to raise funds and pledges to secure the projected amount needed, without borrowing.”
According to the press release, the church already has about half of the funds for the project.
The press release also said church members and local businesses have been contracted for the work and the entire campus is approved as a planned unit development, so the expansions
will not require additional zoning actions.
“It’s a pretty big project,” Ormsbee said. “But hopefully, we’re planning to do it without having to borrow anything.”