While one Columbia County church recently completed a multi-million-dollar expansion and opened its doors, another church in Martinez will soon do just the same.
Dedication services for a 20,000-square-foot addition to The Sanctuary Church in Evans started Feb. 14 and culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebratory concert Sunday.
"All the comments are very positive and we're real excited," said the church's pastor Bryan Cockrell.
The church's project started in January 2009, adding a 900-seat sanctuary, new lobby, a coffee shop and a bookstore, complete with a double-sided fireplace. Choir suites and offices also are included in the new building.
Cockrell said the building at 4584 Cox Road features a blend of contemporary and traditional styles. The project cost about $3 million.
Cockrell said the church's existing sanctuary will be used as a multi-purpose area for children and youth.
Membership has more than doubled at the church in four years, causing a need for more space, Cockrell noted.
"We've been really maxed out as far as capacity goes now for over a year," he said. "We hope this will give us some room to grow."
Plans for expansion include additional parking and a three-story Sunday school building and gymnasium.
Another area church hopes to reveal part of its $6.6 million expansion project to members during an upcoming holiday.
By Easter Sunday, Abilene Baptist Church hopes to open the church's new grand foyer area in addition to a lounge and coffee shop.
Construction on the remainder of the church, located at 3917 Washington Road in Martinez, is slated to conclude by early May.
"What they've got to do from here on out is the finishing (touches)," said Rev. Bill Harrell.
Work on the church's three-story children's ministry building started in July 2008. The 55,000-square-foot facility 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.
"It's big on the outside, but when you get inside, it's huge," Harrell said. "It'll be the finest facility of its type in the state of Georgia right now."
The new building is equipped with the latest electronic surveillance and computer technology to keep children safe and secure while inside the facility, Harrell said.
"The rooms are just going to be absolutely fantastic for children," he said.
A new electronic sign, facing Washington Road, recently was added in front of the church that displays messages and video clips on a 5-by-12-foot screen.
In 2008, the church gained space after work concluded on a choir suite and rear entrance on Roberts Road. That phase cost $2.2 million to complete.
"We've tried to use our space wisely," Harrell said of the property's limited acreage. "My goal has been to get them fixed, so we won't have to build any buildings for years and years to come."
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