Though plans for a three-story children's ministry building at Abilene Baptist Church are under way, the final product could take about two years to complete.
"We're hoping it's going to be finished inside of two years," said the church's pastor, the Rev. Bill Harrell. "If they get good weather, it could be quicker."
Harrell said he anticipates the 53,000-square-foot building, which will be constructed by R.D. Brown Construction, to be completed in 22 months.
On July 28, demolition began on the existing pre-school building and the Martinez church's original sanctuary on Washington Road.
"We're looking forward to really having something that we've wanted for a long time, and that is a state-of-the-art children's building," Harrell said. "The front part is going to completely restructure the way Abilene looks."
The new building, which will cost $6.6 million, will house a ministry for young children on the first floor, classrooms for older children and the church's professional offices on the second floor and adult classrooms on the third floor, Harrell said.
"It'll have every convenience in it for children," he said. "It's going to create an environment where they're going to really enjoy going to Sunday school."
Harrell said the building, designed by architect Mike Eidem, will be safe and secure with the latest electronic surveillance equipment and computer technology.
"Only those people who are cleared to be in there working with those kids are going to be in there working with them," said Harrell, adding that no one will be allowed to claim a child unless they are properly matched.
In addition to the classroom and office space, Harrell said a lounge area that can be accessed from the sanctuary's balcony will be constructed on the second floor and will include a coffee shop, an Internet cafe and a library.
A deck, complete with guardrails, will face Washington Road and will be available for various activities, such as Sunday school, socials and wedding rehearsals, he said.
Harrell said the additional building will blend with the facade of the church's existing structures.
The church also recently finished a $2.2 million project, which added a choir suite that accommodates about 180 choir members and the church orchestra, as well as a rear entrance on Roberts Road.
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