Berean Baptist Church begins expansion project

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Berean Baptist Church begins expansion project
By Steve DeVane, Staff writer

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Contributed photo
Pictured from left to right: Reyna Torberson, Nursery Director; Vonda Chapman, Elementary Principal; Jack Farmer, School Administrator; Walter Holt, Trustee; Charlie Newsome, VP Riley Contracting Group; Bret Page, our Architect; Pastor Sean Harris, and the Mayor. 

Berean Baptist Church officially started the largest building expansion in its 49-year history Sunday when construction equipment knocked down an overhang to make room for a 36,770-square-foot addition.

The $6 million project also will include the renovation of 14,591 square feet for classrooms, storage areas, a kitchen and a cafeteria. The new construction of an education wing will add a classroom, a multipurpose area, a gymnasium and restrooms.

When the construction is finished, the church will have more than 121,000 square feet of space.

Pastor Sean Harris said the church has been planning the expansion for nearly two years. The project will provide space for the children’s ministry, recreation and Berean Baptist Academy, which has 430 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“This was intended to set the conditions for continued growth,” Harris said.

The construction will prepare the church and school for increased traffic now that the Glensford Drive project is open, Harris said. The 1.4-mile, four-lane road through the Montclair neighborhood provides direct access from Hope Mills Road at Raeford Road to Morganton Road at Cross Creek Mall.

Harris said the road work, which took longer than expected, is starting to look better.

“I think it’s going to be a showcase thoroughfare,” he said.

Harris said the school was growing before the road work started. After a slump during construction, more growth is anticipated, he said.

“We just want to be ready to receive more students,” he said.

The expansion will give the academy access to a second gym so junior varsity teams can practice at the same time as varsity teams, Harris said. The school’s volleyball team will be able to play in one gym while the basketball team is playing in the other, he said.

“The ability to do multiple things at the same time is going to be wonderful,” he said.

The work also will benefit the church. Harris said a 6,400-square-foot multipurpose room will provide space for the entire church to eat a fellowship meal together.

The church’s nursery area, which is now in the oldest part of the church, will be moved to the newest section, Harris said. The project also will add 22 classrooms and a commercial kitchen, he said.

“There’s not a demographic that’s not benefiting,” he said.

Harris said getting permits for the construction, which will be done by Riley Contracting Group of Cary, has been challenging. He said the goal for the completion of the project is 10 months, but 12 months is probably more realistic.

“I think we’re going to make quite the impact on the corner of Glensford and Cliffdale,” he said. “We want to be poised to grow along with Fayetteville.”

After the ceremonial ground-breaking at the conclusion of a worship service, the church started the project by demolishing an area that provided shelter from the rain while people were dropped off.

“We wanted to to more than just turn a shovel of dirt,” he said.

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This post was written by Britni Holman