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Sugar River United Methodist Church in Verona, WI

Sugar River United Methodist Church

Verona, WI
Services: Remodel
Architect: Structural Integrity - Middleton, WI

Verona, Wisconsin’s newest church now ministers from what was once a neglected bowling alley.

In Sugar River United Methodist’s first four years, worship attendance and financial giving both grew by double-digits. The church was founded by members of a Methodist church in Madison who lived in the metropolitan suburb.

Having moved to Verona’s former library building after outgrowing the banquet hall they first held services in, the church once again needed new space. But they knew they couldn’t afford to build the square footage needed to carry out their ministries.

Founding Pastor Gary Holmes and a member committee turned to NCI-Roberts Construction right away, knowing first-hand the quality of their work and depth of their experience.

EIFS (stucco) work gives renovated exterior modern aesthetic
EIFS (stucco) and new signage
Windows installed and covered entry added to secondary entrance
Covered entry with steel beams
The foundation from the lower-level entrance was extended to create a new vestibule
Entrance with large windows allows maximum natural light
New vestibule
Exterior before and after renovation

Selecting a bowling alley for renovation

The firm helped with initial planning and design, working with Sugar River to identify their needs and goals. First and foremost, the church wanted to create a large fellowship space and open sanctuary to promote an interactive, welcoming experience that would attract people who were new to church going. They also needed to find space compatible with phased construction that would lower costs and allow them to eliminate lease payments on their current space as soon as possible.

NCI-Roberts drafted plans and budgets for several sites, including Verona’s former Wildcat Lanes. The bowling alley had been for sale for four years and was conveniently located just west of the fast-growing suburb’s downtown.

After NCI-Roberts made minor improvements, Sugar River was able to hold services in the existing second floor while construction continued.

Lower-level entrance before and after
Entrance into the facility and fellowship area, before and after
Fellowship space complete with fireplace
Temporary kitchen to be remodeled during next phase of construction
Nursery
Classroom space
Former bowling lanes transformed into entrance to sanctuary
3,700 square foot, fan-shaped sanctuary, before and after
Custom acoustical clouds for high quality sound
Wood from the bowling lanes used as finishing material on the stage floor and sanctuary walls
Tables and chairs allow for flexible use by the congregation and community groups who rent the space
Fellowship space and entrance
Wood from the bowling lanes used as finishing material on the stairway wall
Two-story staircase provides direct access to entrance, before and after
Elevator and office space
An open, two-story foyer and large windows at the sanctuary entrance, allowing maximum natural light
Second floor worship space, before and after
High school ministry classroom

A phased master plan and structural challenges

A master plan for a complete renovation was developed and split into phases to fit the church’s budget.

Phase once included extending the foundation from the existing lower-level entrance to create a new vestibule; EIFS (stucco) work on the exterior; and construction of the stairway and elevator. Phase two focused on construction of the new sanctuary.

Concrete and steel structures had to be modified in phase one, and demolition proved challenging, especially removal of the heavy, solid wood bowling lanes and a large amount of concrete.

Features of phase one and two include:

Celebration, and more construction planned

The church held an open house to celebrate the completion of phase two, which was well-attended and covered by local media. The pastor said that an increase in visitors and other factors point to continued growth for the congregation.

The third phase of construction will include more extensive renovations of the second floor. Bathrooms will be renovated, and the main area on that level will serve as multi-purpose and meeting space. Bathrooms will also be renovated on the first floor, and administrative offices and meeting rooms will be finished adjacent to the sanctuary.

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