Second Baptist Church unveiled architectural design plans for a $9.4 million expansion and renovation project Sunday morning during a live social media broadcast.

Pastor David Tucker and the church's long-range planning committee lead the presentation. The project is divided into three phases and will include the addition of classrooms and administrative offices, upgraded heating and cooling systems and interior and exterior renovations.

"The church has never taken on anything of this size before, but it is not outside something God can do," Tucker said. "We're excited to simply try to follow him in obedience and allow him to guide us through this process. We'll take it one step at a time and one of these days -- maybe years down the road -- we're going to turn around and say 'Look what God did.' That's what I'm excited about."

Tucker said the expansion and renovations are "a necessity" at 720 W. Seventh St.

"The campus has been a beautiful campus for many, many years, however the buildings themselves have come to a point where new carpet and paint is not nearly enough," he said.

In his eight years as pastor, Tucker said the church has renovated bathrooms, the library and underneath Christian Hall and Duncan Chapel. He said now brick and mortar on some buildings is deteriorating, and

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the boiler and chiller systems are outdated.

"The age and size of those systems, we can't get anyone to work on them. We can't find contractors who can handle what we own," he said. "When you start to add all of that up, it becomes more than a small renovation."

The process

On Feb. 2, 2016, Tucker presented his concerns about needed renovations and expansion to the church. In November 2016, the church formed a long-range planning committee with seven members to research and develop a master plan.

"We began by identifying some of the needs of the church according to research and surveys conducted in the areas of music, sports, youth, young adults, senior adults and communications," said Sherry Burke, chairperson of the committee, in the Sunday morning service.

Burke said primary concerns included difficulty accessing current buildings, need for new programs and activities, and growth in the children, youth and young adult population.

In January 2018, the church hired Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects of Lexington to design and develop plans for the renovation and expansion.

Fifteen months later, the final phases of the process are nearing completion.

"It has been a long journey, but one that has been rewarding and exciting, as well as exhausting at times," Burke told the church Sunday. "During our decision-making process, our committee always tried to put the interest of the church and congregation first, without involving our own personal beliefs. We feel the task our committee was presented with has been accomplished. Therefore, the end of our journey is near."

Justin McElfresh, principal with Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects of Lexington, has been working with Second Baptist Church on the master plan for about 1 ½ years.

"We've looked at a comprehensive master plan that will really dramatically change and shape this campus for the next 40 to 50 years," he said. "We looked at that and looked at the costs associated with it and broke it up into three primary phases. The first of which is primarily a classroom addition, which will also have a large gathering space that could accommodate changes between Sunday school and (worship) services."

Phase A also includes administrative spaces, and children and adult classrooms. The estimated cost is $3.85 million.

Phase B includes an update to the exterior and replacing all of the existing systems: HVAC, sound, electrical upgrades and lighting throughout to the facility, McElfresh said. The estimated cost is $2.15 million.

Phase C, the final phase, is estimated at $3.4 million.

"Phase A is a bridge between the sanctuary building and the final phase, which would be a gymnasium/multi-purpose space with additional space for adult classrooms and youth classrooms," McElfresh said. "It's really the final piece that consolidates everything from the activities building and brings everything all together, which ultimately is one of the big, broad vision goals for the congregation."

McElfresh said the church's education building, Duncan Chapel and eventually the activities building will be taken down as part of the expansion.

"We're trying to be very sensitive to some of the emotions attached to Duncan Chapel," he said. "A lot of people have very strong memories from that (building)."

In an effort to preserve those memories, McElfresh said they are considering repurposing some of the stained glass and stone elements of Duncan Chapel in some of the new architecture.

"The challenge is to take the history and use it toward the future," he said.

In the past couple of years, McElfresh said he has been involved in about five church master plans throughout Kentucky.

"Every church is unique, but we constantly see recurring themes," he said. "We want to be sure all of the children's areas are combined into one consolidated area and that area is safe and secure. We want to be sure we have large gathering areas that can accommodate multiple services or a flexible space."

McElfresh said the Second Baptist construction and renovation timeline will be determined by fundraising efforts, but the estimated time of completion could be between three to five years.

"There's no penalty for not doing something, but we want to have a plan that can address the growth and identify potential phases over the next five, 10, 20 years, however long it takes to get there," he said.

Tucker said a formal capital fundraising campaign will begin this fall.

"The church right now is giving over-and-above their tithe already," he said. "Tithing is 10%. We're asking everyone to give 11%. That 1% is being set aside toward this project."

The future

Burke told the congregation Sunday the long-range planning committee recommends pursuing Phases A and B with an emphasis on Phase A.

The recommendation will be presented as a motion at 9:30 a.m. May 12 and voted on by the congregation. The vote will take place in the church activities building. For members who cannot attend, absentee ballots are available at the church office.

To answer any additional queries, Tucker said the congregation is invited to question-and-answer sessions Wednesday at the church.

Tucker said this project has been "a matter of prayer" for more than three years.

"It's something we have done slowly and carefully and with the unity of the people," he said.

With the recent addition of the Christian County Sheriff's Department on West Seventh Street and more west end revitalization, Tucker said he is proud the church has decided to stay in the area and minister.

"The church has gotten to a place where it knows its ministry is here. It knows its ministry is able to reach and heal and help not only those on the west side, but in Hopkinsville and Christian County," he said. "We believe this church can make a difference -- a real difference."

Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or

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