Is Adaptive Reuse the Right Decision for Your Church?

When it’s time for your church to expand, there are several things to consider. You could start looking for a new place to build, rent out an empty building for a while, or split the congregation into different buildings. However, none of those options may be the right choice for your situation. If that’s the case, consider adaptive reuse, which can be much more affordable and effective than building or renting a new church building.

What Is Adaptive Reuse?

Essentially, adaptive reuse refers to renovating an existing property to meet the needs of your church. It’s often used when a church’s congregation outgrows the space they are currently using, but other times it can be used to help a church downsize when they have more space than people.

There are typically two kinds of adaptive reuse. The first is renovating an existing church to maximize its space, whether it’s the church you’re currently using or an abandoned location. This is obviously the most logical choice if possible, since it follows the laws of recycling and doesn’t involve finding and purchasing a new location.

The other style of adaptive reuse revolves around converting a building into a worship center. In many cases, this style of adaptive reuse is applied to a storefront or an old building. In some instances, a church can be created from the structure of an old house. This option is much more costly and time consuming than the first, but both can be more affordable than designing a church from scratch.

Four Things to Consider with Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse is only a smart decision when you go about it the right way – there are several factors to consider. Here are just a few things to think about:

1. Location, Location, Location

As every real estate agent knows, design is important, but the location will ultimately sell a property. For churches, selecting a location that’s aligned with the needs of your local area is vital. For example, if most of your congregation lives on the east side of a busy metropolitan area, relocating to the west side that’s several miles away is going to discourage attendance.

In addition, consider the goals of your ministry. If you have ties and service opportunities to take care of in one area of town, it would be counterproductive to move far away from that. When you’re rooted in good works, you don’t want to leave, just to save a little money on a cheaper building in a different part of town.

2. Cost Per Square Foot of the Job

Even though you’re a non-profit organization, you can’t get away from calculating the cost of a job like this. There are many costs associated with your expansion, but the largest cost will be the construction. The easiest way to estimate your costs is to look at the cost per square foot. Your money will go twice as far when you choose adaptive reuse, but this doesn’t mean it will be cheap. It’s important to discuss with your key stakeholders and congregation to determine the appropriate funding for this project and how you’ll raise the money.

3. Maximizing Space

It’s important to maximize your space in any church to ensure that resources are being used appropriately and the inhabitants are comfortable. It’s part of your mission of stewardship to maximize this resource to its fullest potential so that you can carry forth your work.

Before beginning an adaptive reuse project, carefully consider the space opportunities within the building. Try to imagine the room with walls knocked down or built up. It helps to look at the floor plans so you can see the kind of space you’re really dealing with.

There’s also online software that can enable you to create designs within a certain blueprint and see what it would look like with your new renovations. This step will point you in the right direction and save you from a sticky situation later on when you realize your plans won’t work with the building you’re renovating.

4. The Timeframe

There’s usually a much quicker turnaround with adaptive reuse than with total rebuild, but it will still take some time. Be realistic in your planning when considering the time frame. The average time for a large renovation takes between four and six months, so it’s important to perform the renovation during a time that’s convenient for you and your ministry.

In addition, you’ll need to make plans for your ministry to continue while the church in under construction. In some cases, you’ll still be able to meet in the building while it’s under construction, but in other cases, that simply won’t be possible. You might consider renting out another space during the construction stage of the project so that your ministry doesn’t have to be put on hold.

Adaptive Reuse in Action

Adaptive reuse is a very common form of construction, and it’s performed successfully all the time. Often, these churches are featured in news stories all over the country.

Looking to Change Your Church? Call Churches by Daniels

Adaptive reuse is not a foreign term for Churches by Daniels. We specialize in the design and construction of churches in the Tulsa area. We love taking on a challenge, and renovating, remodeling, or expanding your church would be our pleasure. At Churches by Daniels, we’re willing to go the extra mile to help you achieve your ministry goals. For more information about the specialized services we can provide, contact us today!