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Solomon Awards 2019 – The Village Baptist Church (Church Sanctuary Design [Non AVL technology focused] Traditional and Contemporary)

Paragon 360 recently opened the newly renovated 1,200-seat sanctuary at The Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, under the leadership of Dr. Richard Lee.

The church, only 15 minutes off the base of Fort Bragg, was a multicultural and multi generational church that has been steeped in a tradition of excellence, all-the-while embracing growth and supporting the local military and civilian community. The campus was 22 years old, well-worn and well used but aging quickly.

As part of their strategic planning, led by Paragon 360, the church wanted to refocus its efforts on drawing in the next generation of believers. They launched their “Refresh” campaign with the goal of refreshing the church’s facilities to make it feel more welcoming for the next generation, equipping them for future ministry growth. The design team at Paragon 360 knew that in order to achieve this, they would have to completely change the environment of the space, as well as increase intimacy, engagement, and connection.

The biggest drivers of the new environment were new seating, color palettes, and flooring. All new contemporary, theatrical seating replaced tired pews, which increased seating capacity on the main floor. That new seating also allowed for wider aisles between seats and increased mobility, therefore encouraging fellowship.

The original all-white room received new, unique color palettes that included the church’s branded colors, and were used throughout the space. New, modular carpet tiles were installed, and pulled in more of the rich wood tones, used in the design which greatly modernized the space.

Paragon completely changed the intimacy of the space by making alterations to the design of the room, including enclosing the balcony and changing the seating layout. Initially, the dark and isolated balcony was not well designed with very few “good” seats and restricted sight lines, because of column supports. Paragon made use of the enclosed space by repurposing it for other ministry needs. The end result was a much more intimate space that was versatile. With the new seating arrangement built with theater seats, Paragon maintained almost the same amount of seating, but with much better sight lines and isle logistics, improving the experience for everyone.

One of the other significant transformations of the space included the ceiling. Paragon took the ceiling to black and floated more than 30 custom acoustical island ceiling panels in the space. These panels designed, fabricated and installed by Paragon 360 completely changed the room, both aesthetically and acoustically. The clouds added character, intimacy and warmth to the space, while also adding depth and dimension.

Paragon completely redesigned the stage space using custom scenic, staging and architectural elements that modernized the sanctuary and created an engaging environment that was designed for both traditional and contemporary services. These units included illuminated faux stone and wood wall treatments on the back wall of the stage space, modular choir riser systems and modesty walls, that all tied into the interior design of the space.

Floor to ceiling matching columns were added to the audience space to create a more immersive environment, improving the audience experience and driving continuity with the stage space. In addition to all of the interior design changes, Paragon 360 provided all new audio, video and lighting systems that greatly enhanced the guest experience and greatly improved speech intelligibility.

Paragon 360 also produced vision casting assets such as capital campaign videos, brochures and a lobby display booth, to help the church promote their “Refresh” campaign. Other spaces within the church were also included in this renovation project, such as a complete remodel of the fellowship hall, offices, and a gymnasium space.

“We are light years ahead of where we would have been thanks to Paragon’s council,” said Pastor Lee. “They helped us understand flow of people, connectivity, how people interact and what the buildings communicate. This is not about buildings, but how do we best utilize this space for effective communication and ministry of people. The reaction of people as they have come in the room is just, ‘Wow!’. It’s a total transformation. It’s an amazing experience that is beautiful, inviting and contagious.”

Through their architectural partner, Paragon 360 brought architectural design services and master planning to the project via Torgerson Design Partners. There are now future phases in the design process that will include renovation of children’s spaces in addition to exterior modifications, a new choir room and a new youth building for Village Baptist.

Paragon 360’s goal was to make sure that The Village Baptist Church was equipped, inviting, and engaging for the coming generations.

Many in the congregation can remember when the church was a small group, meeting in peoples’ homes. Now this multicultural and multigenerational church can host more than 1,000 people, and be an engaging and lasting place of worship for all ages, across all worship styles.

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