Construction Journey

August 23, 2013: Construction Rendering Images

In 2010, clergy and lay leaders, with the help of a newly appointed building team, set out to expand the church and it’s facilities. These renderings give a sense of how the new structure will look.

View of the NE corner:

Rendering: NE






View of the SW corner:

Rendering: SW








The sanctuary:

Rendering: Larger Sanctuary






Rendering: Larger Sanctuary 2












September 10, 2013: Why A Green Roof?

by Paul Longhofer

church green roofWhy is there a green roof on the new church? It is because we are “FROG” friendly (Fully Relying On God)? Is it because the church has decided to go “eco-friendly green?” Maybe we think there is a large group of Irish Methodists who are looking for a church? It actually is there to keep the water out, but the green waterproof cover has caused people to notice.

The roof that is being applied over the laminated wood beams is quite a project. The first layer that went down was tongue in groove prefinished Douglas fir planks that came out of Oregon. The underside will be visible from inside the new sanctuary. The planks are nearly an inch and one half thick and after they were attached they were covered with sheets of plywood before the green waterproofing was applied.

The roofing company will start next week to finish the roof. The next thing to be added will be a more substantial waterproof membrane. That will be followed with five inches of ridged foam insulation before the metal roof material is added. The roof will have an appearance very similar to the one on the existing church.


August 13, 2013: Growth and Expansion
by Cindy Nolte

Rendering: Larger Sanctuary 2

Chapel Hill in Wichita is on the grow!  With a major capital expansion project, the church family looks forward to welcoming hundreds of new members in the upcoming years.

The new building addition will be able to host nearly 900, with a 200-seat balcony, up from the current seating for 325. Why such a significant change?

In determining the amount of space needed to meet goals and plans, the team used the rule of thumb that when a congregation exceeds 80-85% of current worship space, it needs to start another service or expand. The congregation was consistently exceeding the 85% and the team discovered that every time they reached 700 in worship attendance, the congregation would “hit a ceiling” and bounce back down to 580-590 and then creep back up again. This pattern was another reason for the expansion.

According to Jeff Gannon, senior pastor, “Our lay and clergy leadership team determined that we need to expand our footprint in our community.  We are already bursting at the seams and need more space to continue our mission.

It’s not just about seating capacity, but about our sending capacity.  We consider our church a mission station, in that what we do at Chapel Hill empowers us for mission in the community and the world.”

The budget for the expansion is $6.9 million and is designed to encompass more that just a larger sanctuary.  The current nursery space will be renovated to serve more children and the plans include the addition of classrooms for children, youth and adults. Currently classrooms are at capacity and sometimes there are not enough rooms for church activities.

Rendering: SW

Volunteers and staff will also enjoy the new commercial kitchen allowing for additional fellowship gatherings.  The current kitchen is a very small room, which does not allow for meal preparation and only accommodates three or four people serving comfortably.  Sharing meals and creating snacks for children’s activities is an important activity in any church fellowship and the new space will make shared meals and activities more welcoming and relaxing.

A new secure preschool wing is also in the works as the preschool component is an important “entry into Chapel Hill” ministry. With a waiting list for classes, the church needed to expand the available classrooms. Additionally, there are not enough classrooms to meet current demand. The new section of the building will allow for more small group sharing and growth.

Chapel Hill enjoys a vital and active youth program and the planned recreational center will offer an outdoor space dedicated to soccer, horseshoes, exercise, etc. In addition to being a draw for children and youth, the recreation team is planning a wide variety of outdoor activities for intergenerational gatherings.  Celebrating faith through picnics and outdoor activities will lend an informal, relaxed atmosphere while appealing to all ages.

“The mission drives everything we do at Chapel Hill. To welcome all people to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus Christ demands that we embrace our co-mission with Christ to make disciples that transform the world for his sake,” said Gannon.

The building is projected to be complete in the first quarter of 2014.  The congregation is looking forward to holding Easter services in the new sanctuary. To compliment the expansion, the church is also revamping its website and will be enhancing its logo and beefing up communication efforts through traditional and social media.  It’s an exciting time at Chapel Hill!


September 20, 2013: “… and a partridge in a pear tree”
by Paul Longhofer

Flower pict

At this time we have:

  • Six crape myrtles
  • Five red twig dogwoods
  • Four arborvitae
  • Three Winter Creepers
  • Two butterfly bushes
  • And a partridge in a pear tree

Actually we don’t have a partridge. We don’t have a pear tree either, but we do have a lot of shrubs and plants.

If you take a stroll north of the church onto the playground, you will discover our nursery behind the nursery. Over the past six weeks our landscape crew has been scouting nurseries and plant departments looking for bargains and just the right plants to enhance our church landscape. I discovered that plant shopping with master gardeners and plant enthusiasts is like going shoe shopping with Imelda Marcos. Every box comes off the shelf for inspection, or in our case, every plant is pulled from its bench to be viewed from all sides to assess vitality, symmetry, color, good root system and a thousand other things that our plant gurus look for. For every thirty plants inspected, one or two might pass the tests and be selected. Oh, did I say they have to be at the right price? If not, we are on to another store.

At this time we have about 60 shrubs that will be added to the church landscape over the next few weeks. Most of the stock on hand are planned for beds around the new sports field near 13th  Street. A number of the shrubs will be planted around sections of red cedar split rail fences. The fence sections will likely go up in the next week and the plants will follow over the coming weeks.

We are so lucky at Chapel Hill to be blessed with so many people who have such a variety of gifts. Gardeners are just one group of volunteers with offering special gifts and a commitment to serve. If you would like to be involved in any way with the church landscape team, even if it is just to help weed flower beds, you are needed and wanted. Give Jan Longhofer a call (316-684-4762).


November 5, 2013: Construction Moves into November

Now that the building is nearly closed in it is harder to see any progress. From the outside we can see that the windows have been installed in the tower, the stone trim is nearly finished on the sides and back of the church and much of the siding has been added. In the next week or so the most of the remaining windows will be installed (not the stained glass ones- we’ll have to wait for a few more months to see those), the curved drive will begin to take shape, the remaining siding will go on and the stone veneer will begin to appear around the front entrance. Also the metal roofing will be installed as the weather allows. On the inside thing have been hopping. On the lower level virtually all of the metal stud walls have been installed, electrical conduit is in place, the duct work for heating and cooling is in and the stub-in for plumbing is nearly finished. Sheet rock walls will be going up next week. It is hard to see progress on the upper level because the entire sanctuary is filled floor to ceiling with scaffolding. Work is being finished from the top down. Everything in the tower including framing, electrical wiring and lights, all of the sheetrock and trim, and even paint and staining the wood beams has to be finished before the scaffolding can be removed. The upper area will even get its final inspection and approval before the top level of the scaffold is removed. It would be extremely difficult to make repairs or correct problems after the scaffold is taken down. Work on the outside is progressing nicely. Grass is appearing on the sports field and thanks to church volunteers decorative split rail fencing was added along with more than 100 trees and shrubs. The sand volleyball court is also beginning to take shape nearer the church.


January 7, 2014: Construction Update
by Paul Longhofer

The bitter cold has forced workers to be flexible on scheduling outside work on the new facility, but work on the inside has really heated up. Since most of the structural work is completed, the way is clear for many of the subcontractors to bring on complete work crews to finish up inside work. Crews working the mechanical systems, plumbing, drywall, painting, tile, electrical, glass and are all over the building. The new elevator is finished.

A look at the construction workers trucks and cars in the parking lot during the work day gives an idea of the number working inside the building. Some areas on the lower level of the building are almost finished while work in the sanctuary is not as far along; it is beginning to be evident how spectacular the finished worship space will be.

Workers took advantage of the shutdown of the pre-school program over Christmas break and a few days of limited church activity after Christmas to switch over the utilities from to old systems serving the current building to the new ones that will serve the combined structure. Those change-overs included a larger gas line, a larger water heater, a larger waterline and the relocation of electrical service. Undoubtedly there will be more disruptions in using our facilities as we get to the final stage of completion. We are getting to the point where we can begin counting the weeks rather than months until we are in the new building.


February 18th, 2014: Construction Update
by Paul Longhofer

Wow, a lot is going on right now relating to the construction project. When you see David Nelson, tell him thank you.  As our transition point man he has more going on and more things in the air than the Cirque du Soleil juggler. It would all be easy if we had a new building being built and then could move into the new building and completely out of our current building and then let the contractor have the current building to remodel and then take it back when the job is finished. That is a complicate sentence, but not nearly as complicated as the situation we face now and David is keeping all of the parts moving.

This past weekend, a crew packed up the kitchen. Thanks to Jana McDaniel who headed that up. Laura Fuller and the nursery staff began packing the Infant room. They are temporarily sharing space in the other nurseries for the next few weeks. We also have been asked to clean out the storage room that serves our current sanctuary. Finding a place to store the items and boxes is quite a challenge. You may find things setting in strange places for a couple weeks.

By giving the contractor access to these spaces he hopes to complete everything by Easter. Obviously the kitchen is quite a major remodel. The nursery will have a new bathroom added, and will be expanded to include four nursery rooms. By the way the new nursery will have a space for a washer and dryer and a dishwasher. Why a dishwasher in the nursery? Because all of the toys must be sanitized after every use. Everything seems to go into the baby’s mouths. We will be reusing the existing dishwasher from the kitchen but we are not currently budgeted for the washer and dryer, as they were not included in the building budget. They cost about $600.00 each. If you would be interested in making a gift to pay for one of these items, it would be appreciated. Call Donna Richardson, our new Director of Finance and Administration, and let her know.

The new sanctuary seats began arriving on Monday and the stained glass windows were being installed on Tuesday. If things move as fast as the contractor plans and he can get as partial occupancy permit, parts of our program and staff members may be moving into the new spaces on the lower level as early as next week. It is a real challenge to get everything finished that fast.


Circle DriveMarch 28, 2014: Access from Circle Drive

As we prepare for the completion of our new building and begin Worship Services, you may be wondering how to enter the new space, or how to utilize the new circle drive located along the south of the building.

Primary access to the Sanctuary and new building is through the doors from the circle drive. The circle drive is designed to facilitate access for those with limited mobility, so please limit your use of the drive for loading or unloading. The circle drive is a fire lane, so there is no long-term parallel parking provided.

Entry through the doors from the circle drive will guide you directly into the new addition. Once inside, you may proceed along the hallway and enter the Sanctuary through one of several entry points along the hallway.

Our “old” worship center, now named Fellowship Hall is being remodeled. Once completed, you may choose to enter the building through the doors on the west side of the building and access the Sanctuary. When complete Fellowship Hall will provide a place where you are welcome to meet with family and friends for coffee and conversation before or after worship services.

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