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Get a Clear View on Church Safety with These Church Building Exterior Examples

Church security is an important component of the best church experience, for both guests and attendees. In one of our free i3 webinars, we took an in-depth look at many elements of church safety, from hardening the church building exterior to protecting internal children’s areas. Many of those elements have been presented here in our blog.

One theme emerges from all these church safety components; they can seamlessly and beautifully be incorporated into a church design. As we conclude our church safety series, here are some church building examples which illustrate the ability of an aesthetically pleasing design to dually serve a safety purpose.

Choosing Church Building User-Friendliness

Many church leaders are opting to keep the exterior of their church building focused on user-friendliness. This first example is from a Florida church design we recently completed. You can see it has a car canopy to protect attendees on rainy days, and lots of natural light flowing into the foyer on sunny days. The leaders of this church do allow people and cars to come right up to the building, in contrast with some church safety recommendations, but a bright foyer allows their security team to keep a good eye on everyone coming into the church building.

Choosing a Strategically Located Second Exit for Church Safety

In this second example, from another recent McKnight Group church design, you see again that lots of light comes into the building from the glass-walled front entryway. This allows people to see what’s going on in the foyer area of the church building. A second entryway with a car canopy is visible on the left side of the lower image. This is certainly convenient for the elderly and parents with young children, who can get into the church building quickly on days with rain or snow.

There’s a second reason for this canopy-covered entrance which is specifically related to church safety. In this particular design, the hallway which leads to this entrance is where the church security and medical offices are located. This allows security teams to direct ambulances to the entrance that’s closest to the medical office, without disturbing other guests and attendees by pulling up to the front entrance of the church building.

Choosing a Church Design that Welcomes Guests

In these final examples, you can see that church leaders have opted for lots of light in the front facades of each church building. Both buildings have tall sections of the foyer filled with glass. This makes it easy for guests to see that people are gathered in this church building. When they see that lights are on and people are inside, they know that this is a safe church building for them to visit. All that glass also makes it easier for Sunday volunteers and weekday receptionists to get a clear view of who is approaching the church building.

Obviously, there’s a lot of thought that goes into church safety elements in any church design. To learn more about how you can incorporate security components into your church building, contact us today. You can also learn about what else we consider to be priorities in church design by signing up today for the next in our free i3 webinar series. You can learn more about what we’re focusing on here.

2020-04-14T19:14:39+00:00 April 14th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Safety|

Support Church Safety with a Well-Placed Church Building Security Office

There are some other areas that should be considered when integrating church safety into your church design, like the need for a well-placed church building security office. One that doesn’t stand out but does function well within the overall church design. Here are some key points to equipping and placing your security and medical offices in the best possible location of your church building.

What Does Your Church Safety Office Need?

An effective church safety office needs to be well-equipped to meet the needs of your security team. This means it should be wired for camera monitoring and recording. We further recommend that anytime a service is going on, there is somebody from the security team monitoring cameras and watching public areas, making sure they have an eye on what’s going on in your church building.

Your church safety office should also be located next to a medical office or storage room, that can hold medical equipment like an AED, or automated external defibrillator, as well as standard first aid equipment. Ideally this medical room should function like a small doctor’s office and have an attached, dedicated restroom. If that’s not possible, it should be located near a public restroom in your church building.

Where to Locate the Security and Medical Offices in Your Church Design

These two church safety offices should be centrally located in your church building so that security teams can quickly and easily see and access several key areas. As you can see from this church design, the prime location of this security office gives the team a view of the entire foyer and the main entry to your church building. Through the glass entryway, they even have a view of most of the parking lot through a large, one-way window that faces the foyer. For the public, from the foyer, that window appears to be a mirror, while security staff can easily see out from the inside.

In addition to the foyer, the security office has a clear view down the corridor on the left side of the church design, which leads to the children’s wing. They also can easily see both the welcome center and the main doors into the worship space. The corridor to the right, past what’s labeled as the nurse’s office, leads directly to an outside door with a canopy, which would be where an ambulance is directed for easy pickup from the medical office. You can also see the dedicated restroom, which allows for medical treatment and cleanup in a more private and secure location.

How Else Can Your Church Building Benefit from a Security Office?

In addition to serving as a central medical location and monitoring station, your security office can hold supplies that you will need for various church safety situations. In addition to a defibrillator and first aid equipment, storage space in your security suite can hold ice melt or salt and shovels for winter storms, traffic cones for various occasions, and other useful safety equipment.

As you can see, we’ve given a lot of intentional consideration to every facet of church design. We are glad to share this information with you, which is why we host our free i3 webinars over the course of each year. Click here to learn more and sign up for our next free webinar.

2020-04-07T17:23:16+00:00 April 7th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Safety, Security|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Completion | Centerville, Ohio

PRESS RELEASE – Fearless Church

A former local car dealership in Centerville, Ohio has become the new Fearless Church, when what was originally known as the Far Hills Church chose The McKnight Group to remodel this facility into a new worship space. The building consists of 37,600 sf. A new front entry canopy was added to the building.  The interior has twelve classrooms, multiple restrooms, mechanical and green rooms, a large foyer and a 725-seat sanctuary.  A warming kitchen and pantry along with a new office were included.  The upper level of the facility was renovated to include an elevator, new stairs, children and youth worship space and two additional classrooms and a breakout room.

Owner: Fearless Church, Centerville, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2020-03-26T17:42:16+00:00 March 26th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

Spring Church Building Maintenance in a COVID-19 Impacted World

Normally, we’d remind you about the importance of spring maintenance at this time of year. This year, with COVID-19 impacting our nation and the world, church maintenance is taking on additional meaning and necessity.

We know that many churches are temporarily closing down or canceling services as a precaution against spreading the virus and in keeping with government guidance. While this is challenging for your church community, it also provides you with an excellent opportunity to thoroughly address spring maintenance. Now might be the best time to clean, repair, check, and maintain your church building.

Church Safety and CDC Cleaning Recommendations

The Center for Disease Control has a thorough webpage that details  recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection to prevent the spread of any virus. When doing so, it’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning removes dirt and germs, but does not kill the germs. Only disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. Therefore, both cleaning and disinfecting, in that order, are important at all times, but especially during this time of COVID-19.

All surfaces that people touch should be both cleaned (using a detergent or soap and water) and then disinfected on a regular basis. High-touch surfaces in your church building include counters, tabletops, desks, chairs, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, HVAC interfaces, audio-visual control modules, tablets, etc.

For disinfection, the CDC recommends using diluted household bleach solutions (4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and/or most common EPA-registered household disinfectants. A list of available products that the Environmental Protection Agency deems effective in killing viruses such as COVID-19 can be found here.

All cleaning and disinfecting solutions should be chosen with the surface in mind. For example, bleach may be effective on bathroom counters, but it can damage wood and other surfaces. Always read product labels carefully, use gloves, and ensure proper ventilation during cleaning and disinfecting. Wash your hands once you have removed and disposed of gloves.

Regular Spring Maintenance for Your Church Building

In addition to cleaning and disinfection, given the current circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to address the regular spring maintenance needs of your church building. We have checklists that include outdoor and indoor elements of your church building—everything from screens to patios, light bulbs to gutters—from attics to basements. We also feature suggestions for painting and refinishing, organizing and decluttering, and also keeping your roof and gutters clean and clear of debris.

Do You Need Spring Maintenance Help for Your Church Building?

Of course, all this spring cleaning and maintenance can feel overwhelming. Some of it may also be beyond the capacity of your staff and/or cadre of volunteers. Sometimes, especially with roof or HVAC maintenance, it’s a good idea to call in the professionals. Here at The McKnight Group, we’re glad to help out. Learn about the church building maintenance services we offer here.

We also offer our church building expertise, free of charge, through our i3 webinars. To learn more and register for our upcoming free webinars, click here.

2020-03-24T20:25:02+00:00 March 24th, 2020|Church Building, Church Maintenance|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Powell, OH

Press Release – Grace Powell Church

The McKnight Group has started work at Grace Church in Powell, Ohio. The scope of this project will consist of a remodel of their existing foyer, gathering area, cafe space and main restrooms. These spaces will have new flooring, LED lighting and a fresh coat of paint. The main restroom remodel will also include new sinks, faucets, partition doors, baby changing stations and countertops. A new logo will be added to the stone accent wall in the foyer and a glass partition will add distinction between the gathering area and foyer.

Owner: Grace Powell Church, Powell, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2020-03-19T20:15:02+00:00 March 19th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

Examples of Church Building Offices with Multiple Safety Layers

Last post, we described some of the church design safety and security measures that might help protect and secure offices in a church building. Here are some examples of how those measures have been incorporated into projects we’ve completed for church leaders like you.

Incorporating Layers of Church Safety into Your Church Design

One important security concept for any church design is to think in layers. While we might think of a church building as a single entity, it is made up of numerous parts. Church safety elements can be implemented into each part of your church building, such as doors, windows, rooms, etc. This means each door can serve as a layer of security, because it can be locked. A window allows people in one room to see into another, and so on. When considered in this fashion, it’s clear that you can do a lot to keep staff and church leadership safe while they are in your church building.

One Church Building Office Area with Three Layers of Security

In this first church building example, you see an office reception area that is very friendly. It’s well decorated, clean, and looks appealing. It also incorporates three levels of security. There’s a door to the left (the doorframe is just visible in this photo) that includes a window, which allows the receptionist, sitting at the desk, to have a direct visual connection with whomever is outside. The door is also locked, so the receptionist must buzz visitors through the door after speaking with them and looking at them through the window. This is the first level of church safety.

For any visitor to move beyond this reception area, they must pass through two more levels of security. The first is the counter, with a volunteer or staff member. That’s level two. Beyond the counter, out of sight to the right, is another door that leads into the actual office complex. That’s level three. Most visitors will just see a beautiful little room, but those who are thinking about church safety will recognize three levels of security built into this one element of the church design.

Another Example of an Office Area Church Design

Here is another church building project, for a very large church. This lovely two-story office entry area is part of a four-story office wing for a church building we designed. It’s a bright and open space with a lot of glass, which makes it appear very welcoming. But there are also many levels of security incorporated into this church design. First, the main front doors are controlled by the staff receptionist, who has a direct view through the glass front doors. As in the first example, people can be buzzed in (a first layer of security) but cannot move beyond this two-story lobby without passing the receptionist (a second layer of security).

Every door in the rest of the office area, on both the first and second floors, can only be accessed using key fobs. So, while there are clearly many doors that can be accessed from this lobby, visitors can’t get anywhere beyond this reception area without an escort who has a key fob. Once again, one church building reception area holds at least three levels of security.

These examples demonstrate that church safety doesn’t have to appear grim or threatening. Instead, it’s about thoughtful incorporation of church safety elements into each layer of your church building. To learn more about what we’re thinking regarding church building design, sign up today for one of our upcoming webinars.

 

2020-03-17T18:34:19+00:00 March 17th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Safety, Security|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Westerville, OH

Press Release – Church of the Messiah

In time for Easter will be the remodeling of the existing 1957 sanctuary for the Church of the Messiah in Westerville, Ohio. The platform will be reconfigured to include new screens and projection capabilities. The sound booth in the balcony will be enlarged and a new glass rail will be installed at the balcony front edge. Theatrical and LED lighting will be added, new flooring, pews, storefront doors and hardware, fresh paint and a larger platform with a handicap lift will complete this makeover.

Owner: Church of the Messiah, Westerville, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

 

2020-03-10T17:25:07+00:00 March 12th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

Integrating Church Safety into the Office Portion of Your Church Design

The prior post in this series of articles on integrating church safety and security in your church building shared a church design example of the children’s areas in one of our recent church building projects. But children’s areas aren’t the only ones that need to be kept secure. Office areas in your church design also need safety elements to protect church staff.

Integrating Visual or Video Access Control into Your Church Design

We’ve established in this series that the days when a package delivery person could show up at a church office, push a button, and talk with a receptionist over a speaker system are gone, because audio systems don’t provide enough security. The best church safety protocols require direct visual or video, as well as audio input, before someone is allowed into your church building. The receptionist or volunteer can easily see, for example, whether the delivery person is wearing company-logo clothing and actually carrying a package.

There are additional ways to protect church leaders through access elements in your church design. Providing a separate, private entrance for staff members that leads directly to the office area of your church building means they have a choice about whether to walk through public areas.

Considering Office Rotations and Safe Rooms to Promote Church Safety

One church safety strategy that we’re hearing about lately is the office rotation. This means that the senior pastor plans to exchange offices with another staff person once a quarter. While we have not yet incorporated this feature into a church design, we are open to doing so. We understand that there’s another level of church safety involved when an intruder cannot easily presume to know which office belongs to which church leader or staff person.

Another level of safety which we have researched and discussed with customers is a safe room. This is a room that has dedicated power and ventilation, and which serves almost as a concrete bunker within your church building. While we haven’t yet included a safe room in a church design, it is an option some churches are considering.

Keeping Funds and Files Safe in Your Church Building

Beyond protecting people, which is always critical, it’s important to incorporate ways to keep both money and information safe in your church design. Another type of “safe” room would be a room that holds a safe, such as the counting room where ushers or other volunteers and financial officers can securely count, store, and prepare offerings for deposit. Any financial offices should also be difficult to access from public spaces, locked, and well-protected. The same should be true for the file storage and server rooms in your church design.

In our next post, we’ll share an example of an office entrance area church design that includes multiple layers of security. Meanwhile, we continue to present additional free i3 webinars on a regular basis. Find out what other church building topics we’re talking about here and sign up today.

2020-03-10T18:41:27+00:00 March 10th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Safety, Security|

The Latest Look at Rising Church Building Costs

We’ve posted before about the adage “time is money,” especially as it relates to the construction industry. Here’s another one: “time waits for no one.” Both simply mean that the longer you wait to create a church design and construct your new church building, the more it’s going to cost.

In 2018, we laid out the rising construction costs leading up to that year. Well, it’s been two years and costs continue to rise. Here’s an update on what to expect.

Inflation and the Church Building Process

Since we last wrote about it, there has been no slowdown in rising construction costs. This inflation rate can have a significant impact on your budget and your new church building’s bottom line.

We want to draw attention to the fact that time is a critical factor. It can be a long stretch between your first conversation about needing a new church building or expansion, and the day you dedicate that new building. After all, there are many necessary steps: developing a vision, drafting an appropriate church design, getting everyone in your church on board with the idea, raising funds for the building, securing a loan for the difference between the budget and your cash on hand, obtaining the various permits necessary, carrying out the construction project itself, then finishing it in style, addressing everything from carpeting and furniture to the landscaping. It’s very common for the whole process to take two to three years. The costs at the start of the planning will certainly be lower than the costs at the end of construction.

Inflation and new challenges

According to The Turner Cost Index, construction costs in America increased 4.82% in 2019 and over the last four-year period inflation has averaged around 5% per year.  Of course, the actual numbers in your community will be affected by the pace of construction in your part of the country, but nevertheless we are seeing increases in construction costs everywhere.

In 2019, we experienced a new challenge that contributes to these rising costs: a trade war involving tariffs. Electronics and light fixtures imported from China make up a very high percentage of controls and lighting fixtures used in construction today. The tariffs on Chinese goods increased the price of these items 20 – 30% overnight!

More concerning than tariffs is the construction workforce.  As baby boomers reach retirement age, much of the skilled labor work force is leaving. It’s not being replaced at the same rate. According to a labor study by the business research group Conference Board, since 1995 the number of men aged 16 to 24 in blue collar jobs has dropped by 10%. 

Accompanying this drop is also a slowdown in labor productivity.  Less work getting done in the same amount of time will contribute to rising construction labor costs.

What Does This Mean?

Construction inflation can be substantial, but other factors are playing into the inflation, which will increase the rate in coming years. We’ve said it before, and it’s truer now more than ever. If you’re having conversations in your church, or even just among church leaders, about how your church building is hampering your growth or not meeting your ministry needs, don’t delay. Building a church will take plenty of time, even if you don’t procrastinate, and some elements of the process—like inflation—will always be outside of your control.

Start planning now. Reach out to have a conversation with us and get the process started. The road ahead can take longer than you might anticipate, and construction inflation means that it could also be more costly then you planned.

2020-03-03T20:54:20+00:00 March 3rd, 2020|Budgeting, Church Building, Church Design|

Putting It All Together: Church Safety Example for Children’s Areas of Your Church Building

We’ve focused on various ways to protect sensitive parts within a church design, especially children’s areas. For example, we’ve talked about interior hardening and modern safety technology, their applications ranging from doors to glass. In this post, we will show how these various elements, along with other safety precautions, can be incorporated to create multiple layers of safety within one church building.

Church Safety for the Nursery Area

We’ve labeled the nursery area with a 1 on this church design. In this space, there is an initial layer of security with a pair of doors leading into the nursery check-in area. That wall and opening is almost all glass—glass doors, glass windows—but all the glass is covered with a ballistic film. The doors also have an emergency lock-down feature, so if there’s any kind of threat, somebody inside this nursery check-in area can hit a button and the doors will immediately close and lock.

Inside this check-in area is a volunteer, providing another layer of human security. Each of the four classrooms has a classroom door, with a check-in counter and another door located in the check-in area, with another volunteer present. This means there are four to five layers of security in an area that looks quite friendly and feels open because there’s a lot of transparency. There’s not a sense of being closed off, but still there is a significant level of security.

Church Design for Security in the Preschool and Elementary Area

In the preschool and elementary area, labeled 2 in this church design, there are even  more layers of security. Initially, there’s the check-in area with a volunteer—that’s layer number one. As in the nursery area, there is a similar set of glass doors and windows with ballistic film that is layer number two. Down the corridor is the elementary worship area, with lockable doors that create a third layer. There are volunteers and staff in the worship area, which is layer four. Finally, each classroom off the central worship area (“Garage”) has a lockable door and is staffed with a volunteer. This means a total of five to six layers of security for these children when they’re in those interior classrooms, which is extremely reassuring.

Keeping Children Safe and Also Happy in Your Church Building

Keep in mind that all these layers of church safety are built into a children’s area that is themed for kids. The church building still looks fun. Kids have no idea about the many levels of security that have been built into this church design. Parents, however, can rest assured that their children are as safe as they can be while they are in your church building. Your security team will also be more confident in assuring families that your church leaders are taking all possible precautions to protect those who worship and learn within your church building.

To learn more about the latest in innovative and secure church design, sign up today for our forthcoming free i3 webinars. Learn more and register here.

2020-02-26T15:14:04+00:00 February 25th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Safety, Security|