Emmanuel Faith Community Church which was founded in 1939, relocated to our current 27-acre campus in 1971. With many of our older buildings showing signs of their age, we realized the need to develop a Master Plan to help us determine how we could improve our facilities and ministry opportunities. Through the process, our initial priority was centered around the need to revitalize our Children’s Ministry facilities to help us reach out to our community and minister to young families. As a result, we have just completed Phase 1 of our four-phase, 20-year plan.
Phase 1 included the demolition of seven buildings and the front parking lot, construction of a new Children’s Ministry Center, improvements to the parking lot, and re-landscaping the affected area. In addition, recognizing the need for Christian-based preschools in our community, our desire was to insure the building would meet the requirements for a preschool that could accommodate up to 200 children.
The primary goals of Phase 1 included the following:
1. Provide a centralized location for our Children’s Ministries rather than in multiple buildings around our campus;
2. Improve security measures of our facilities and the safety of the children involved;
3. Expedite our check-in/check-out process;
4. Modernize our technology, equipment and visual appeal;
5. Create an attractive environment intended for children to enjoy;
6. Enhance teaching/learning opportunities to meet the projected needs of our ministries;
7. Include the necessary design requirements to accommodate a preschool for up to 200 children;
8. Improve our outdoor play areas;
9. Anticipate and prepare the new building for flexibility in ministry, especially in the design of two multipurpose venues;
10. Design for efficiency and ease of operation.
11. Provide a more welcoming and visible “front door” to our campus.
Our new Children’s Center is approximately 45,000 square feet, with separate and secure areas for preschool aged children on the first floor, and 1st through 6th grade students on the second. Creating one central location for parents to bring their young children has decreased the amount of time previously required for the check-in and drop-off process significantly. To help expedite the process further, an electronic self check-in system is utilized which also allows families to keep their contact information constantly updated.
The new building provides one location for parents to drop-off and pick-up their children and helps us maintain a more secure area and utilize a much better monitoring process. Our security efforts include the use of video cameras and a card access system for all external doors and access to the preschool area. Software allows quick and easy changes to the system as well as providing detailed information on use of each card.
For technology/media updates, a centralized PA system provides easy contact to all areas of the building for simple announcements, implementation of emergency action, and/or streaming music throughout the building. The speakers are also integrated with the sound systems in each room and can be used for lesson presentations and localized music. We included multipurpose rooms on each floor designed with full audio and visual capabilities including LED walls for presentations. Though primarily intended for the children, we anticipate use by other ministries when the rooms are available.
During the design process, our architectural team utilized our Children’s Ministry leaders to help develop ideas and perspectives throughout the building that would be attractive to kids of all ages as well as meet the specific needs of each age group. Some of the implemented ideas for the preschool area include:
• Bright colors were used throughout the building and rooms color coded for our preschool-aged children. Each classroom has different themed flooring and paint colors;
• Unusually “big” classic toys were used as props and play features to create an atmosphere that is fun for the kids and bring a reminiscent grin to the faces of adults;
• Classrooms have operable walls to allow rooms to be divided as needed to help facilitate larger groups;
• To provide easy access and oversite, each room was designed to have direct access to one of the four different play areas;
• Restrooms are located within each preschool room to allow easy supervision and eliminate the need for teachers and children to leave the rooms. Other design features include:
• Breakout rooms for small teaching groups in each of the large classrooms for 2nd – 6th grade;
• Large lobby areas on each floor for parents to connect and socialize;
• A large covered deck on the second floor for special events; • Accommodations specifically for our children with special needs;
• Strategically placed workrooms for both staff and volunteers;
• Centralized offices for all Children’s Ministry workers.
The building was designed for efficiency and includes all LED lighting and HVAC systems with energy saving controls and software programs. With the mild Southern California weather, roll up garage doors were utilized to capitalize on the fresh air and make the main lobby more welcoming. Additional garage doors are included on the 2nd floor to allow for fresh air flow through the main hallways.
New Front Door
The area of our campus impacted by Phase 1 is the oldest developed area of our campus as well as the first area seen from the frontage streets and primary entry point to our Worship Center. By redesigning our primary parking lot and landscaping in this area, we’ve created a more obvious “front door.” Our intent was to create an obvious welcoming area and help those unfamiliar with the campus to have a better idea of where to go (way finding). The layout of the parking lot was modified to provide better ADA accessibility, while the landscaping around the new parking area was completely changed to enhance the area. A cross tower that had been in the center of our courtyard was relocated to the parking area where it would be much more visible and “bring the cross closer to the community.”