Whitesburg Baptist Church
Paragon 360 designed and delivered a sanctuary that creates better engagement across generations.
A Church Remodel to Serve a Multi-Generational Congregation
In late 2017 Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri was going through a time of explosive growth, with a significant increase in attendance by families with young children. To appeal to this younger demographic, the church was hosting two different styles of worship services in the same sanctuary with limited transition time. Ridgecrest, wanting to meet their needs of their multi-generational church, wanted a sanctuary remodel that included updating the look and feel of the space, new audio, video, lighting systems, acoustics and seating.
Each element of the renovation was part of the churches mission to better engage the congregation and the lost while providing an updated facility better suited for multiple styles of worship. While the technical AVL equipment designed for the space aides in the over-all experience, the Paragon team designed solutions that were as user-friendly as possible for volunteer teams and made infrastructure for future expansion a top priority.
A Sanctuary Built for Engagement
Ridgecrest wanted to update their sanctuary to make it a more intimate and warm experience. The vision was to create a modern worship service and make the transition from one service to another easier.
The seating in Ridgecrest’s sanctuary was upgraded to Sauder’s Clarity and Vantage lines. These seats include a gravity-lift seat mechanism with remarkably quiet operation and lower maintenance than spring-lift seats. The addition of renewable upholstery will allow for easy replacement of stained or damaged fabric.
Ridgecrest also had a very specific need – they required ADA access to their choir loft, which is used on a regular basis. Originally the church had a mechanical lift installed that was very distracting during service. The solution was to install the lift in a hallway that would enable the choir members to enter into the top side of the choir loft. This solution proved to be an expensive option. The Paragon design team, in conjunction with their architectural partners, Torgerson Design Partners, reviewed the overall scenic design project to create a ramp solution that would give choir members the ADA-style access they required. The Paragon Fabrication team constructed the ramp off-site to enable quick install. The ramp solution saved the client significant time and money.
One of the elements providing the most dramatic change in the room were the custom scenic, staging and architectural elements designed, built and installed by Paragon. These elements included custom choir risers, illuminated stage modesty walls, columns, screen surrounds and baptistery elements along with a custom pulpit.
"I would recommend Paragon 360 because they understand the language of worship and what we are trying to accomplish."
Audio Delivers More Flexibility to Improve Audience Experience
The original audio systems at Ridgecrest Baptist met the initial needs of the congregation, carrying speech and supporting the needs of the choir. However, the church wanted to create a more engaging experience for its congregants and needed an audio system that could achieve this. A new stereo loudspeaker system was installed which is very conducive to praise and worship style music. It is also capable of handling a more traditional choir orchestra setup. Paragon’s strategic audio design offers completely even coverage of the room, which is a high priority of any loudspeaker system. Additionally, a new Allen & Heath dLive Series mixing console was installed. The new console interfaces well with the structure of the church and offers a user-friendly control surface for volunteers.
Acoustical Treatment that Supported the Design
The original sanctuary designed left many acoustical issues un-treated. In the remodel of the sanctuary space, Paragon re-designed all of the acoustical elements. Paragon conducted an elaborate acoustical study of the space, considered the new audio system, determined what needed to be treated and decided on the best acoustical solution. Fabri-TRAK was chosen as the ideal product to resolve the acoustical challenges in the space. Through Paragon's approach to holistic design, the team created a plan for the acoustical work in the space and collaborated with the interior design team to ensure the style of the acoustic installation supported the aesthetics of the space.
Lighting that Engages the Audience
A primary goal of the project was to create a space that would ensure the congregation felt like they were part of the service, regardless of where they sat in the sanctuary. Ridgecrest wanted to move people from observers to participants. To help achieve this, the house lighting system was upgraded to a network DMX system with an LED package that allows color mixing. Additionally, illuminated sconces were added to the sidewalls. The customization in this lighting system allows Ridgecrest to change the lighting color to reflect the experience on stage. Additionally, the upgrade simplifies the addition of new equipment in the future and the use of LED extends the life of the fixture, limiting maintenance and volunteer workload.
The existing catwalks were maintained and the Paragon team added motorized rigging positions. This allows access to the equipment for future additions or maintenance upgrades. The motorized rigging also gives the Ridgecrest team better access to the lighting, improving safety and limiting liability.
Another goal for the lighting upgrade was to improve the quality of the church’s streaming services. Paragon added an additional front-of-house lighting position over the control booth. By adding this new lighting position and calculating the proper lighting angle, the church would see a substantial improvement in lighting downstage area where the pastor would be teaching from on camera.
Video Upgrades to Expand Reach
The original video systems were not satisfying the needs of the church as they were ineffective at adding value to the service due to their size and illumination. With the desire to increase outreach through broadcast, major system upgrades were required.
The Paragon team created a comprehensive solution. The space was upgraded from a non-professional single-man camera to a professional broadcast-style camera. The Paragon team added Remote PTZ cameras which provide a lot of flexibility for cutaway shots. The total infrastructure was also designed to allow for additional cameras to be added, as needed.
The control room was expanded and outfitted with a fully functioning broadcast-style video system that supports up to five volunteers to run an engaging and effective service. This system also included a broadcast audio mixer.
Paragon 360 also provided architectural services and general construction through strategic partners, Torgerson Design Partners and Base Construction.