Phase 2 of the Thriving Life Church project in Newtownards has breathed new life into a derelict building…
When the aptly named Thriving Life Church needed more space due to expanding numbers, it was decided that the best way forward was to start a building campaign.
Space was becoming an issue, and the church wanted to continue making room for more friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours. ‘Building for Life’ was launched and, as a result, premises were purchased at 18-20 Crawfordsburn Road in Newtownards and a two-phase project commenced. The Phase 1 Compassion Centre has already been finished and Phase 2 was finally completed in June 2016, with an opening service held on June 12.
Phase 2 of Thriving Life Church acts as a support building for the church and consists of an impressive two-storey, 3,200sqm building with a large atrium and an auditorium with stage and seating for around 700. Facilities include a number of offices, educational rooms, children’s play areas, crèche facilities, lounges and break-out areas, a large kitchen and coffee dock.
Visitors to the church cannot help but be impressed with the new facilities, which surpassed all expectations due, in no small part, to the innovative design and high construction standards throughout the build process.
The tender for the £1.5million project was won by building and civil engineering contractor, Hugh J O’Boyle Ltd, a company with a wide portfolio and a strong reputation in the heritage sector in particular. Having worked on a number of prestigious church projects over the years, including the Church House Fisherwick Buildings in Belfast, and also the Holy Trinity Church in Banbridge, Hugh J O’Boyle Ltd was more than qualified for the job in hand. Another major project for the company was the transformation of 19th Century buildings into an exclusive wedding and events venue at Montalto Estate near Ballynahinch.
Even with its vast experience however, the Thriving Life Church project posed a significant challenge to the experienced team at Hugh J O’Boyle.
“When we came to inspect the site we were confronted with a steel-clad building with concrete floors and practically nothing else,” said Contracts Director, Kevin Fitzsimons. “The job essentially amounted to the refurbishment of a large warehouse, and the challenge was to transform it into a place of worship. However, the client along with the architect, Crockard Building Design in Downpatrick, had a firm vision of what they wanted to achieve in terms of both design and functionality.
“By liaising closely with them, we were able to adapt positively to changes as they arose, and were able to deliver what they wanted,” continued Kevin. “The result is a truly stunning building, constructed to very high standards. That wouldn’t have been possible without a superb team of sub-contractors, who all went the extra mile to ensure that the project was delivered to the client’s satisfaction, and even exceeded expectations.
“In essence, we took a bare building and turned it into a fully finished and serviced building which has many different functions. In addition to being a place of worship, it also serves as an entertainment venue, complete with state-of-the-art stage and lighting. It has a main church hall, rooms for office and other use, fantastic kindergarten rooms which provide much more than the usual crèche facilities, and a modern, well-designed coffee dock area.
Every part of the build, from the lighting system to the sanitary ware installation has been carried out to a very high spec.
“The glass balustrade viewing area is a stunning feature, and the mezzanine floor is another striking feature of the building. It presented a few challenges as it was soundproofed throughout and was an extremely detailed and difficult job. However, it was well specified by the architect and that helped enormously. Because the building was really just a shell, we also had to install a new roof and new steelwork throughout. With all these aspects to deal with, it was quite a big project to undertake. But our team is well experienced and it was rewarding to see it all turn out so well and to be involved in providing such a top class community building.”
Based in Downpatrick, Hugh J O’Boyle Ltd was established in 1948 and is a well-respected civil engineering contractor, known for its expertise in a wide range of sectors, including education, health, heritage and social housing. With its own specialist joinery workshop, the company offers a full range of skills.