Worship Center Renovation

Updating An Important Space

The Southern Hills Worship Center was built in 1985, and has remained virtually unchanged since then. Over the next several weeks, we will be updating the space by installing new carpet and seating, applying fresh paint, expanding our stage, updating our baptistry, and making lighting improvements. Due to saved funds from our deferred maintenance budget, as well as generous donations by individual members who gave specifically toward a Worship Center renovation, this project has already been paid for with no debt or special collection needed.

The project will take 8-10 weeks, and we will continue to worship in the Worship Center each Sunday during the renovation. Below are some answers to anticipated questions.


Why now? 

The Worship Center was built in 1985 (32 years ago) and has remained virtually unchanged since then. As you look around you see pews that are ripped and carpet that is stained.  The elders decided it was time to give this area of our facilities a facelift to make it more inviting to others.

So then, what renovations are being made?  

New carpet, new seating, fresh paint, a raised and expanded stage, baptistry repairs, lighting improvements.


How was the budget determined?   

The first priority of the elders was not to spend any money that might impair our ability to do ministry in Abilene and throughout the world.  We were able to combine savings from the annual maintenance budget over several years and member gifts designated for the remodel to come up with approximately $350,000 to spend on the facelift.

When do the renovations start?  

October 29, 2017.

Will we continue to have worship services here throughout the remodel?  


How long will the remodel take?  

The remodel is scheduled to take 8 weeks. See the anticipated timeline on the back of this handout.

Given the project's budget, how were priorities established?  

The elders chose a committee led by Guy Saylor to study and prioritize the facility needs.  This committee worked for over a year with the assistance of local architect Tim McClarty and an interior design specialist doing a ceiling to floor review of the worship center and identifying ways to make it more functional.   They solicited your comments and incorporated those into the discussions.  The committee then prioritized and priced the list they came up with.  Options were discarded that did not meet the budget restrictions.  A final plan was presented to the Administrative Leadership Team of the elders and then to the entire eldership for its approval.

What will the new seating be?  

Padded, interlocking chairs. We felt this option provided two significant advantages:

  • Cost – The committee studied and priced four seating options: theater seating, new pews, refurbishing the current pews, and interlocking chairs.  Both theater seating and new pews were cost prohibitive – each option would have cost more than the entire renovation budget leaving nothing for lighting, carpeting, and painting.  The cost for refurbishing the existing pews would have taken a significant portion of the project’s overall budget, leaving other important updates to the space undone.  In the end the committee left the seating decision to the eldership.  The elders chose interlocking chairs. We believe these adequately serve our needs.

  • Flexibility– The chairs are removable and stackable.  The configuration can be changed for special events such as the VBS Musical, church-wide dinners and Student Ministry and College Ministry activities.  By going to chairs the options for Worship Center usage go from limited to limitless.

What will happen with the old pews? 

God has blessed us with a unique opportunity.  Through a partnership with Global Samaritan, the old pews will be donated and delivered to two churches in South Texas that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey: the West Orange Church of Christ, and the First Christian Church of Port Arthur. In addition, our lights will be given to Global Samaritan, with plans to repurpose them as needs arise.

Why is the stage being raised and expanded? 

The stage is being raised to improve the sight lines for those sitting in our Worship Center, specifically those in the balcony.

What do you need from me? 

Patience. It will be messy around here for the next several weeks. But we believe the changes will be worth the temporary  mess.