Life Church, Germantown, WI
Industry – Religious & Nonprofit
Building Use – Religious Space
Size – 23,830 square feet expansion
Construction Manager – Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
Architect – The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA)
Design/Builder – Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
In 2000, Life Church began its influence in the Germantown community by hosting its first service in a local high school auditorium. The congregation soon moved into a local 4,000 square foot leased building, where it thrived under the passionate direction of its people. Years later, as the vision and church grew rapidly, the need for larger facilities grew as well. Construction plans included two different phases: the first, a renovation to its existing, aged facility and a two-story, 23,830 square foot additional structure; and the second, future phase to include an additional 40,000 square feet of space. In May 2013, Life Church celebrated the completion of Phase I of their expansion in their new worship, learning and gathering spaces. The newly renovated church now features a 900-seat auditorium, two-story indoor playground, 300-seat student center and activities area, and a spacious open air gathering area.
Life Church chose to “Consolidate it” with one call.
The two phased expansion planning process began with The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA). With only preliminary information, Life Church began their search for a qualified construction manager. A pool of eight contractors from throughout the state was shortlisted and requested to submit their qualifications – most strictly general contractors with no in-house architectural resources. But because Consolidated is primarily a design/build firm, and the project was in the earliest stages of master planning and design, the company was uniquely qualified to contribute ample resources and recommendations to the building committee and the architect. The Consolidated project team worked collaboratively with TKWA and Life Church to design Phase I and II expansions and renovation of Life Church’s current building. Working together to value engineer initial designs, a modified master plan was developed that re situated the building to be less linear, made greater use of site features, allowed for future retrofits, and offer material cost saving measures throughout.
Managing projects with ambitious budgets and schedules is commonplace in design/build, and Consolidated brought forth past religious and nonprofit cost-saving resources, including volunteer labor procedures, in kind donation tracking, and consensus building tools. Consolidated also offers significant resources to handle the special tax exempt purchasing requirements of nonprofits and religious organizations, saving money and precious administrative time. When it comes to on-site work, Consolidated’s construction team continued to search for better alternatives for the duration of the project. For example, while tilt-up panel construction can be cost prohibitive and require special staging, the team devised a plan to carefully use the church’s foundation as a base to cast the tilt up panels, thus lowering onsite production costs and allowing the church to move forward in utilizing this construction method. In another example, the team sourced an alternate HVAC system than the one initially proposed, saving more than $80,000. This was no simple task, considering the energy efficiency requirements of the church and the acoustically sensitive nature of the sanctuary. The group at last came up with a viable design option that maximized every cent in the church’s budget, while still accommodating the church’s ministry and projecting the positive, progressive, family friendly atmosphere Life Church wished for.
Setting the Standard
Careful planning and sequencing allowed for the church to move its services and operations to the new building while the team continued to renovate the old building, leaving their services and seven-days-a-week ministries uninterrupted. Utilizing their tax exempt status (administered by Consolidated,) the church was able to save over $50,000 on material purchases. The project was awarded a Project of Distinction Gold Award presented by the Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin.
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