Hallowed ground: New Providence gets ready to grow

The day was sweltering, but spirits were high at New Providence Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 8, when the congregation gathered in the afternoon to play in the sand, eat ice cream, and, most importantly, throw a little dirt around.

The occasion was the groundbreaking for a project that began last fall and will culminate in five-to-six years with a new wing and other improvements at the church.

The Facilities Planning Team was present to both show off and explain the fruits of their labor over the past year. The parking lot was scored off with chalk outlines of what “will be” when the project is finished.

“The bathrooms are not functional,” quipped one team member as the church family walked around the outlines on the parking lot and compared them to the drawings posted around the pavilion.

New Providence Presbyterian Church is on the corner of West Broadway and Lamar Alexander Parkway. The capital campaign and facilities project will be a four phase project completed over the next five to six years. The completed campaign will require a $6.7 million investment by the congregation.

“A generation ago, this congregation had the foresight to build this magnificent building that has served us so well over the last half-century,” said Dr. Emily Anderson, the church’s pastor and head of staff since 1999. “But as the church has grown in membership, programs, and activities, we find ourselves spilling over and desperately in need of additional space. New Providence’s vision - and we believe God’s vision -- is to bring good news to the people of this community and our world. This facility is simply a tool that will enable us to do that for generations to come.”

“Share the Vision” is the theme for the building campaign.

Phase One began last fall with the replacement of the slate roof and repair work on coping stones and masonry. Phase Two involves the construction of a new 15,000 square foot Westminster Wing that will house a reception/gathering hall, new kitchen, classrooms, and working/storage space for church and community outreach programs.

Construction of the new wing will begin this summer with completion expected within a year. Work has already begun with the removal of two houses on the west side of New Providence’s property along Houston St.; architectural items salvaged from those houses were used to renovate a historic home in an inner city Knoxville neighborhood that has become a catalyst for other neighborhood renewal.

Soon, excavation and site work will begin to prepare the landscape for a new parking configuration and construction of the new wing.

John Clark, chair of the Facilities Planning Team said, “We’ve been planning and designing the new building for well over a year now. We’ve had a very successful capital campaign, and our growing congregation is excited to move forward. We are all looking forward to finally kicking up some dust.”

Phase Three of the building program involves renovation of the current administration and education wings. Phase Four adds finishing touches in the form of covered walkways around the exterior of the church and parking plans for the church’s property on the west side of Houston St.

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