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Playground Grand Opening a Construction Milestone for Village Church In Rancho Santa Fe

Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe is celebrating a construction milestone. Currently in the midst of a $16.5 million campus development project, the church celebrated the grand opening of a custom-designed 9,000-square-foot playground April 3.

“The signs of progress are all around us and the completion of the Village Church discovery play yard is a tangible step toward our shared vision of a glorious sanctuary and church campus,” says the Rev. Jack Baca, senior pastor of the 50-year-old Rancho Santa Fe church. “Most excited, of course, are the nursery school children, Sunday school children and children throughout the community who will enjoy riding, climbing, sliding and playing here.”

Designed by Deneen Powell Atelier, Inc. with Domusstudio Architecture, the nature-themed playground features rounded boulders, rolling turf, eucalyptus logs salvaged from the church site and other natural materials. According to landscape architect Jon Powell, “nature has been included in separate play yards for children of varying ages, with extensive landscaping providing a year-round variety of flowers, colors and insects for the children to discover.”

Linked to the toddler play area by a shared tool shed and vegetable garden, the preschool children enjoy playful challenges like a steeply sloping rubberized surfacing, inclined tree trunks and a patch of partially buried boulders, natural-themed re-creations for standard metal play equipment. Preschoolers also have mud pie shade shelters set in a wet sandbox along a walkway at the bottom of a grassy slope. Back uphill, there’s a dry sandbox, tricycle path and space for a future grape stake fort. An open paved play space and a quiet zone with shaded tables assure that children can have different play experiences.

Toddlers see a water play stream that flows under an arch bridge to a central sandbox with mud pie tables. A small climber with slide, outdoor painting boards and a flat grass area for play or story time complete the experience for the younger children.

Demolition crews arrived at the Village Church in September 2008 to raze much of the 1950s-era sanctuary. In early February, the church’s Building Committee received the permit to begin construction. To date, the foundation for the new sanctuary has been poured, the underground utilities are installed and the retaining walls are going in.

Designed by Domusstudio in a Lillian Rice “Spanish Revival” style, which fits with the Rancho Santa Fe Village character, the new sanctuary is expected to be completed in May 2010, according to Don MacNeil, chairman of the Building Committee for the Village Church. ROEL Construction Company is the general contractor. The church is planning a cross-raising ceremony in August, according to the Rev. Baca.

A longtime pillar in the Rancho Santa Fe area, The Village Community Presbyterian Church was founded in 1956 and currently has over 1,200 members in its congregation. Recognized for its adult and youth ministries and music programs, the church also has a state licensed preschool program for children ages 2 to 5 years.

Once the sanctuary/administration building is complete, the church plans a second building for the church campus, also designed by Domusstudio Architecture. No date has been set for the start of construction of the two-story, 9,876-square-foot Christian Education Building to be used primarily for Sunday school.

Domusstudio Architecture is a 22-year-old award-winning architectural design firm specializing in religious facilities, fire stations, educational buildings, senior housing and custom residential projects. Founded in 1986 as Dominy + Associates, the firm strives to enhance the lives of people through architecture, interiors, planning and service. For more information about its projects and services, call 619-692-9393 or visit www.domusstudio.com.

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