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Landmark Church in Downtown Dallas, Texas Gets a Makeover

Landmark Church in Downtown Dallas, Texas Gets a Makeover

Annex Addition Yields Capacity, Inspiration for First United Methodist Church

The First Unite Methodist Church (FUMC) project was comprised of 12,800 square-feet of new construction and 16,000 square-feet of renovation.  A successful capital campaign among the church membership contributed largely to the funding of the new annex.

Featuring a two-story glass entry on Harwood Street, the new annex significantly increases the square footage of the church campus by housing a large new gathering and reception area and much needed classroom space.  For the overall design, the project complied with the City of Dallas' green building codes to ensure energy efficiency. 

At the heart of the renovation was the large original multipurpose room called "Crossroads Center," which continues to function as the primary hospitality area for the church with a clean and updated appeal.  The service kitchen was completely renovated, adding new high-capacity appliances and lighting, enhancing the hospitality area it serves.

A highlight of the project was the recovery and restoration of a large stained glass window that existed in the sanctuary.  The old roof of the demolished area had blocked anyone from viewing the stained glass windows from outside.  These were incorporated into the new atrium design to provide their full exposure, creating an inspirational view for the congregation.

According to FUMC project manager Jason D. Harper of Echelon, "We were dealing with a building from the 1920s, the 1950s and the 1960s.  Tying into these areas within the structure from so many different eras and construction techniques presented one of our most challenging hurdles." Further complicating the annex addition was the fact that the church was an "in-use" functioning facility. 

For example, the 1950s addition had to be demolished but it was built over the original basement which was occupied.  Because the new annex was taller and larger than the old addition, the decision was made to construct the new roof over the older roof and then demolish the 1950s roof in order to keep the basement dry. This decision also netted construction savings due to the fact that the building envelope did not require weatherproofing.

The $8.3 MM renovation and annex addition required complex staging given the logistics of downtown Dallas, asbestos abatement, hidden and concealed conditions, shoring issues and restoration of an existing brick façade. 

The brick façade itself was covered in layers of grime, tar and multiple coats of weathered brown paint which required a special process to remove and a skilled trades-consultant to feather the wall. 

"Although the challenges of this project were significant, the results were rewarding," says executive vice president Steve Camp, LEED ® AP, of Hill & Wilkinson, the general contractor for the project.  The firm is also a member of the National Association of Church Business Administration. 

"Despite the complexity of this project, we had excellent communications among all stakeholders and well-managed expectations that allowed the project to be completed within 13 months and under budget," says Camp.

First United Methodist Church operations director Jim Mabile agrees, "We had an outstanding team, great collaboration and innovative solutions that enabled us to meet the challenges and complete the annex on time.  Our congregation is thrilled with the results."

The architect was Good Fulton & Farrell Architects.

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