2014 Solomon Awards

Design & Construction

Elevation Church - Lake Norman Campus

The construction of Elevation Church Lake Norman, marked the largest church construction project in Cornelius, NC. This 41,600-square-foot, $5 million renovation project transformed a former cineplex, into a state-of-the-art worship center.


WFM Staff  ·  August 1, 2014

The construction of Elevation Church’s Lake Norman (ECLN) campus marked the largest church construction project in Cornelius, NC. This 41,600-square-foot, $5 million renovation project transformed a former cineplex, Palace Theater (originally built by Edifice in 1999), into a state-of-the-art worship center. The new church features a 1,200-seat auditorium with integrated audio/visual technology and two 150-seat children’s theaters.

Elevation Church started in 2006 by seven families from Shelby, NC. Today, it draws 14,000 people to weekly services, ranking as the second-fastest-growing church in America from 2008–2011. With multiple locations, ECLN is Elevation Church’s 10th location and the first to launch without a first having a temporary site.

Elevation purchased the former Palace Theater cineplex from a California investment group for $3 million. The $5 million renovations called for significant interior demolition, upgrades to existing electrical and HVAC systems, relocation of restroom facilities, modifications to existing floor elevations for the installation of stadium seating, exterior facade modifications and site work to accommodate additional parking.

“Within five months of receiving a building permit, the team at Edifice had us in before the expected February completion date — and within budget,” says ECLN launching pastor Josh Blackson. “Coordination of all parties is very important in any job, but when the timeline is this tight, it is essential. Edifice was top notch.”

Facility Repurposing (Elevation Church - Lake Norman Campus)

Cornelius, North Carolina
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: January 15, 2014

Although this was an adaptive re-use project, the entire interior of the former facility was removed, including all stadium seating, projection mezzanines and sloped floors. The Edifice project team needed to move approximately 500 cubic yards of dirt inside the structure to accommodate the structure’s new floor elevations, footings, foundations and the “bowl” seating style auditorium.

Due to the roof changes and stage construction, concrete walls and new slabs were poured to provide the mass and density necessary to handle the acoustics of the room. ECLN desired to have robust audio/video/lighting systems. The existing electrical demands were not sufficient to withstand a new 2,500-amp service and needed to be replaced and upgraded.

In addition, 40 percent of the roof and supporting structure was removed and replaced to accommodate the preferred sightlines of the new 1,200-seat auditorium. This was carefully designed, planned, purchased and installed so as not to impede the progress of the aggressive schedule. It was completed with no incident or impact by weather or schedule.

The vibrant and colorful LS3P design re-energizes the previously underutilized facility and will provide community space to engage the Cornelius and wider Lake Norman community. As the largest auditorium of its kind in this area, ECLN will be available as a secular event space to the community at times when worship services are not held.

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