Two of the biggest construction jobs downtown, besides the BOk Arena, are in churches. Trinity Episcopal and First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa are both building multi million dollar additions, for the same reasons. First Presbyterian is also undergoing a major renovation.
News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says there is a new front door on First Baptist. The church has spent $6-million to make the building more inviting. First Baptist Pastor Deron Spoo: "So we've built a new entrance and updated the worship center. We've put a lot of time and energy in our new preschool space, because that's where we're growing."
The church is building a new lobby to help people find their way through the building. It's to be done by Thanksgiving. The work is already complete in the worship center, which was renovated with new seats, new sound and lighting to update what was essentially a 1920's design. Music minister Jeff Elkins: "Technology is so fast paced and typically the church has been on the back edge of that, but now we're incorporating some of that into worship.â€
While the job up the street at First Baptist is further along, at Trinity Episcopal, the job is of similar scope and has a similar goal - to create a new, welcoming entrance to the church - essentially a new welcome mat for the public.
Trinity Episcopal Father Steve McKee: "So it's all about welcoming and hospitality, and it seems like a lot of money and big project just for that, but I think that is very important."
Trinity is spending $4 million on a new entrance and major expansion of their ministry to feed the homeless. Inside, rooms have been ripped apart to make new spaces and a new open hallway into the church that will make it easier to greet people when they walk in.
Another renovation project has taken off at First Presbyterian. New pews and new flooring is going into the sanctuary. It's less extensive, but done with the same motivation as Trinity and First Baptist - all trying to make the church more attractive and inviting.
Both First Baptist and Trinity demolished an old building to make room for the new construction.
Altogether, these projects total nearly $11-million in construction, all raised from the people in these churches.