Church plans expansion to its strip-mall sanctuary | TheUnion.com
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Church plans expansion to its strip-mall sanctuary

When Crossroads Church leaders first started thinking about expanding their building for a growing congregation, they considered moving.

Then it hit them that they already had location, location, location – no more than a half-hour drive from Nevada City in the north and a few minutes to Auburn just south, and right down the road from Lake of the Pines and Bear River High School.

Now, Sunday services draw more than 1,500 attendees from all over Nevada and Placer counties – so many that they’re planning a three-phase expansion county planning commissioners approved earlier this month.



Expansion at the church comes on the heels of other moves likely to make Higgins Corner – once a sleepy crossroads in southern Nevada County – a busier place. The developer of the Higgins Marketplace shopping center, which will include a Bel Air Market and smaller retail spaces, hopes to break ground this year, though legal maneuvers to block the project are pending.

The Nevada Irrigation District has opened the door to a proposed water district that could extend water lines along East Hacienda Drive and nearby streets – possibly attracting more development there. Turning lanes will be extended on Magnolia Road to accommodate school and commute traffic.




Church facilities that are set to include a gym and a soccer field – with invitations to be extended to area recreational teams – could create a kind of community center.

“We envision a place where people want to hang out,” said executive Pastor Ed Lech. Plans also call for a bigger sanctuary, a youth building, children’s building and twice the existing parking.

The church was founded in the early 1980s as part of the Calvary Chapel denomination. Originally located on Alta Street and named Calvary Chapel Grass Valley, the congregation moved in the early 1990s to a strip mall at Wolf Road and Highway 49. Later came the apt name, Crossroads.

It’s at ground zero, situated at the gateway of Nevada County along a busy highway. With that kind of visibility, the preliminary plans take the hilly, rural ambiance into consideration.

Administrative Pastor Tim Weeks calls the aesthetic “modern barn.” The roof is zinc, the siding is a woody brown with abundant glass, and the architecture slopes gently upward.

The first phase of the project is infrastructure improvements, including adding parking spaces, and a soccer field. Second will come an expansion of the sanctuary from 700 to 1,175 seats and additions to the youth and children’s rooms.

The capstone step is a gym.

Nevada County planners approved the expansion, but much of the timeline will depend on when the church can raise the money. The first phase will cost about $2.5 million, and the second and third phases will be much more expensive, although church leaders don’t have a solid estimate because of the volatility of construction costs, Weeks said.

Crossroads is committed to keeping fundraising efforts low-key, the pastors said.

Rather than rushing cars off the property to make room for people coming to the next service, church leaders want a campus where people linger. The church’s book store already helps with that goal, but the roomier complex and seating areas in the plans will do one better.

“In a church this size, you can come and go and really not make a connection,” Weeks said. “We want to facilitate a relational aspect.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.


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