The Church of the Highlands - Tuscaloosa Campus is situated on over 30 acres on the Black Warrior River. The 54,000 square foot contemporary, tilt-up facility is home to a large,thriving and inclusive congregation.
WFM Staff · October 1, 2016
The Church of the Highlands - Tuscaloosa Campus, is the church’s fourth of fourteen offsite campuses to receive a permanent facility. Based on experiences with the previous offsite campuses, Church of the Highlands was determined to create a prototype that could be used at other locations and not be outgrown too quickly.
The 54,000 square foot building was constructed with tilt-up concrete panels along the exterior. This provided the church with a cost effective structure, which additionally helps with acoustics throughout the building.
New Sanctuary Construction (Church of the Highlands - Tuscaloosa)
Project Size: 801-2000 Seats
Completion Date: December 13, 2015
The front of the building has five large curtain wall glass openings which allow natural light into the Common Area where everyone congregates prior to entering the Worship Center. The front of the building houses a large fully functioning Café and Bookstore where students can come and study or visit.
A short distance down from the Café is a Children’s Wing which serves the youth on Sundays as well as a Growth Track Room, which serves as overflow seating during services and a meeting location for the church’s Growth Track (steps to membership). The Worship Center is located just outside of the Common Area and entered through two different points.
The Worship Center seats 1,200 people and the church strived to ensure there was no poor seating. Sightlines and acoustics were the driving force behind the size and shape of the room. The project team created multiple iterations and sound models of each to ensure that the shape and size of the room felt perfect. The space is multifunctional, multipurpose, multigenerational, and highly technical. The church needed a facility that could adequately serve any type of occasion. Church services are at capacity each Sunday during their three services, which is far different from a funeral or wedding with less people.
Coordination between JOHNSONKREIS Construction and Clark, the AVL contractor, started well before the first shovel ever hit the ground. The main ingredient for the AVL success on this project was the numerous on-site reviews, coordination and meetings between JOHNSONKREIS Construction, Clark and the electrical, mechanical and structural teams.
The original schedule showed completion in 16 months; however, about a quarter of the way into the project, a request was made by the church to finish, four months early, prior to Christmas. Given the timeline, all activities were accelerated. The church was not disappointed. Justin Firesheets, of the Church of the Highlands said, “Even though it was on a constricted time frame, the Tuscaloosa launch was probably the smoothest building opening that we have had to this point. There were very few notable issues that we need to work around. Things went incredibly smooth on opening day. It was well managed and well executed.”
The success of the Tuscaloosa project, from the building footprint to the use of technology gives Justin and his team confidence in moving forward with replicating the prototype in Montgomery, Alabama. Like Tuscaloosa, the new campus will be transitioning from a portable location into their first church-owned building. The JOHNSONKREIS/Clark team will be right by their side.