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Midland Young Life

Hundreds of students use Young Life Midland's new youth facility throughout the week for Bible study, group lunches, games, mentoring, counseling, worship and fellowship.The facility features a worship area that opens onto a patio with picnic tables, rocking chairs and a fireplace; a game room; kitchen and lounge spaces.

Young Life Midland knew their existing building was not fulfilling their needs and pursued a design firm to seek answers about how to renovate it. In 2013, after studying a number of options with the firm, Young Life concluded that new construction on their existing site would not only make their indoor programming better, it would make their outdoor activities more effective and safer for the students.   Over the years, the existing facility had been decorated like an industrial barn, and so this theme was carried through the interiors of the new design.  One of the iconic symbols of the old facility was a large barn door that separated their commons from the worship.  To keep this personal icon intact, a new barn door was introduced into the design.  On Wednesday nights, while students gather in the commons room, the large barn door is left closed prior to the worship to encourage students to interact and fellowship together.  When worship starts, the barn door is slid open, and students pour into the space, which holds 250.    It was important to the owner that the facility be used for more than just worship on Wednesday nights. The first thing that greets the students when they walk in is a large commons room.  This area is the central hub for the whole facility, this is where fellowship and personal ministry happens.  To facilitate this function, the area is packed with sofas, tables and chairs, and games.  One of the goals was to give students the ability to make the building their own.  In the commons, a strip of magnetic boards lines one accent wall, and the students are encouraged to display pictures of Young Life functions there, giving them a dynamic way to add their own personal touches to the facility.  A new administration suite, a large classroom, and a small residential kitchen are immediately off the commons to help accommodate ministry needs.  Hundreds of students frequent the building throughout the week for Bible study, group lunches, mentoring, counseling, worship and fellowship.   One of the challenges of the design was being able to use the existing building, while construction occurred.  It was important to leaders that the construction would not interrupt any student ministries. They wanted the new building to be complete and occupiable before demolition of the existing building.  This helped drive the L shape of the floor plan.  Once the new building was occupied, the existing building was torn down, and a new basketball court was built in its place along with a covered patio.   These outdoor spaces are always available and regularly occupied with games and fellowship.  The worship area opens onto to a patio with picnic tables, rocking chairs and a fireplace. Three large garage-style doors can be opened to cleanse the space with fresh air.   "For doing what we do, it allows kids a place to come and hang out. And that was really our hope all along that this would be, one, a place that was very user friendly but also a place kids would be comfortable in making their own." Rip Gibbs, Metro Director of Young Life Midland

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