A 21-acre tract off Busey Road in Violet Township now primarily functions as a cornfield but Pickerington-based C3 Church has plans to transform it into a 33,000-square-foot worship center to accommodate an expanding flock.
C3 Church Executive Pastor Gary Fowler said preliminary plans for the facility call for a 900-seat sanctuary, cafe, offices, several children's classrooms (called kids spaces) and a large conference room.
Fowler said the sanctuary "is expandable so eventually it can seat 1,400 (people)."
C3 Church, an independent church voluntarily affiliated with the Assemblies of God, is holding services at Pickerington High School Central until the new church is constructed.
"In a perfect world, we would like to be in it by the fall of 2015," Fowler said.
Founded seven years ago, the church occupied a 12,000-square-foot building on 10 acres at 200 Hill Road S. up until February.
Fowler said C3 Church officials decided to seek new quarters so they can minister to more people.
"One of the biggest reasons for the move is that we're growing. We spread a message of life change and hope, and people are attracted to that," Fowler said.
"We're attracting a lot of young families with young children. Our kids space is filling up a lot sooner," he said, adding that the new location near the intersection of Busey and Diley roads is ideally situated for a growing church.
"Any time you put in a McDonald's, you know they're doing their research," said Fowler of the area to the south of the property, which includes a Meijer supermarket. A new housing development, Winchester Ridge, also is in the works.
To the immediate west of the proposed church property is 33-acre Busey Road Park, owned and maintained by Violet Township.
"We love that it's always going to be green space. We absolutely plan on doing events there, maybe put a playland out there," said Fowler.
C3 Church is engaged in a capital campaign and working toward acquiring loans for the land purchase and architectural fees, which Fowler verified will run about $1 million. After that, the church will seek a second loan to construct its facility.
"We're looking at the end of April to close on the land, and we're still finalizing the bank details," he said.
The church's final development plans will need to be approved by Canal Winchester City Council on Monday, April 7, before the project can proceed. The meeting will be held at Town Hall, 10 N. High St. in downtown Canal Winchester.
Initial plans for the church's new property included two east-west access drives to better handle traffic in and out of the proposed facility.
Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher said he advised the church's design team that the Violet Township Access Management Plan warrants only one access drive.
"Initially, they proposed two access points, but the westernmost access would be problematic with site distance (on Busey Road) so they eliminated that," he said.
Butcher said the church went through Canal Winchester for zoning approval, however, Busey Road is not annexed to Canal Winchester, thus Violet Township access rules apply.
The church's previous building on Hill Road South in Pickerington, built in 1991, is listed for sale at a price of $1.3 million, according to Realtor Jim Wooten.
Pickerington-based Life Church is currently leasing that property on a month-to-month basis.