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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 12, 202111:21 AM EST

First Baptist Church renderings show exterior refresh

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Plans for the $1.78 million renovation of the Lindsay Memorial Auditorium in Downtown also includes interior work and a reduction in occupancy load.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

Downtown’s First Baptist Church of Jacksonville will give the Lindsay Memorial Auditorium an exterior face-lift as part of a $1.78 million renovation.

NOVUS Architects Inc. Principal Jerry Traino presented renderings Feb. 11 to the Downtown Development Review Board showing replaced metal cladding on the church auditorium at 125 W. Ashley St.

The board took no action Feb. 11 on the proposed renovation.

During the board workshop, Traino said the church plans to use a single-color metal panel with vertical seams and will paint the exterior concrete white.

“With this investment the church is making in the building, we don’t want to change the identity of the building,” Traino said. “We’re trying to improve the appearance and accentuate the identity with color and subtle moods.”  

The city issued a permit Feb. 5 for Williams & Rowe Co. Inc. to renovate the First Baptist Church main auditorium.

Plans also include interior back-of-house remodel, auditorium carpet, painting, lower floor pews, new toilet rooms and a new choir loft area.

Williams & Rowe will reconfigure the platform, replace pews, perform finishes and modify the sound-booth area and the overhead main sanctuary canopy. The project includes a new choir loft, LCD screens and AV upgrades.

Plans show the existing occupancy load of 1,089 will drop to 915.

In August, First Baptist said it would not pursue its plan to sell a majority of its Downtown campus and consolidate it and instead fix water infiltration, HVAC and other infrastructure problems in the Lindsay Memorial Auditorium.

First Baptist Senior Pastor Heath Lambert announced the church leadership’s decision Aug. 2 in a town hall meeting with the congregation.

The church will base its ministry and operations in the Lindsay Memorial Auditorium. Lambert said a small group of members has pledged “millions of dollars” to repair water infiltration, HVAC and other infrastructure problems in the auditorium. 

First Baptist has been raising money from members for the “Lindsay Memorial Auditorium Renovation Project.”

Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report. 

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