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Case Study: Church Expansion Embraces New Lights and Improved Acoustics


Every contractor has the opportunity to excel when project challenges are assessed and skillsets are balanced. When Allen Gravitt, director of Executive West Building, Goodyear, Ariz., was hired as the framing and drywall contractor for the expansion of Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Chandler, Ariz., he followed his instincts to bring a bold design to life. Flex-Ability Concepts’ Flex-C Trac and Flex-C Arch were chosen to create curves in the new space — curves on a level not often seen. 

"The footprint of the worship center is a true ellipse,” says Josh Hansen, construction manager of Glendale, Arizona-based Hansen Construction Management Group, the general contractor. “On the exterior wall of the worship center there are five rows of both interior and exterior shelves. The exterior shelves were designed to be light shelves, while the interior shelves were designed with acoustic panels running in between the shelves. The shelves followed the elliptical geometry of the building footprint. Flex-C Trac and Flex-C Arch were used in the framing to form the face of all radiused shelves."  

Executive West Building installed 36 pieces of 6-inch 20-gauge Flex-C Arch and 114 pieces of 6-inch 20-gauge Flex-C Trac.  It took six crew members two weeks to install the ellipse. The configuration was so precise that there was minimal room for error; Executive West Building’s measurements and calculations had to line up perfectly with the steel framers’ work. 

"This was a very ambitious design," Gravitt says. "Though we are very experienced with bending interior track, in this situation we definitely thought it would be more beneficial to use Flex-C Trac. We have had good experience with the track in the past, and this install went very smooth." 

Some of the unique challenges for this project occurred with the geometry of the building. The elliptical shape of the worship center had to meet and blend seamlessly into the rectangular shape of the classrooms and meeting rooms that were also part of the new building. 

Callahan Studios designed a contemporary expansion that steered away from the big-box warehouse trend often seen in churches today. The goal for the worship center was to create a space that was accessible for all people, intimate yet able to seat hundreds of people, and contemporary yet sacred. Rev. Burcham also wanted a worship space that could be used for purposes other than worship. 

The one-story 36,000-square-foot building has a contemporary worship venue that seats 728, and the congregation will continue to use the sanctuary for a more traditional worship format. A large commercial kitchen, classrooms and offices with an expansive front yard area for community events were other important additions. 

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