Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, TN, revealed the largest change in their main sanctuary in over twenty-five years on Easter Sunday 2014 with a two million dollar stage renovation. The fifteen-week renovation was completed on time and on budget. The design, driven by Paragon 360™, Fleming Architects and Bellevue’s staff designer, Mark Alexander, was created over a period of six months in 2013. Consistently ranked as one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, with over 25,000 members, Bellevue’s vision is to be the catalyst for spiritual awakening in their community and around the world.
“Recognizing the importance and impact of the worship environment, Paragon 360™ has worked intricately with church leadership to design a stage space that increases flexibility and encourages a more intimate worship experience for those in attendance at either the traditional or contemporary services.” states Mark Blair, Minister of Music, Bellevue Baptist Church.
The new stage treatments, designed and built by Paragon 360™, not only provide continuity with the recent renovations and updates to Bellevue’s lobby areas, but also allow for dramatically different worship environments between services. In as little as twenty minutes the modular staging and lighting elements can be completely transformed which allowing the church tremendous flexibility.
Aesthetically beautiful and functionally designed, the new stage, at just over 10,000 square feet, will accommodate intimate band-driven worship, choir-led worship or full-scale theatrical productions. The old retractable choir riser system was replaced by Paragon 360’s custom designed, modular choir riser system that includes a mezzanine superstructure. The new choir riser system allows the choir to be elevated six feet providing brand-able, television-ready backgrounds and underneath storage. The stage features wood, faux rock and stone treatments, powder coated aluminum framed scenic structures, custom illuminated screen surrounds, glass railings, two sided illuminated scenic elements and Paragon 360’s custom DE-360 Squared Drum Enclosure.
Technologically, the stage project included state-of-the-art video projection on three large screens. In all the new screens total one hundred feet of image using new 30k projectors, and provide versatile service programming and better visibility throughout the sanctuary. The lighting system was updated with new conventional and moving light fixtures, additional motorized lighting positions and a new control system that enhances the look and feel of the entire worship environment.
“This project pushed our team to really think outside the box as many do” stated Donnie Brawner, CEO, Paragon 360™. “I honestly believe that what we created was the only real solution to deliver exactly what they were looking for from environment to storage, flexibility, increased technology and budget parameters. We would have to create and fabricate this, top to bottom. All the pieces we needed to make this happen did not exist in the market place” Brawner said.
Blair went on to say, “The quality of their product is evident and has been well received by Bellevue Baptist Church. We are a church with a strong heritage and Paragon 360 helped us to embrace that heritage while offering a functional design for the 21st century. They not only have the right answers, they also know the right questions to ask during the design phase. People of all ages, styles, and opinions love the look of the new stage. Those who use the space on a weekly basis love the flexibility and quality of the products. It is a win-win to me and that is what Paragon 360 brought to Bellevue; an opportunity to meet the needs of an established yet growing and changing congregation and do so while being good stewards of money and time.”
“From a long relationship with Bellevue over the years, we have a real good understanding of Bellevue’s DNA, their expectations and objectives” said Brawner. “That translated into a crystal clear vision of what was required in this project. We have a great working relationship with their in house design team and have been in conversations about this for years.”
“What I appreciate so much about Paragon is that they treat us as family and friends” said Mark Alexander, Director of Design Services at Bellevue Baptist Church. “You never feel like you have a contract with a big corporate company and that you have to work through the red tape. Fleming Architects and Paragon 360, are the best design team I have ever worked with” said Alexander.
The design process for the Bellevue renovation spanned about six months with demolition and renovation work taking place over four months. All the stage elements were fabricated in Springfield, MO, at Paragon 360™.